Jan 25, 2020
If the kingdom of heaven is close at hand, that does not mean that we are near the end of the world. Instead, Christ tells us, as he did the fishermen at the harbor, to disentangle ourselves from their net. They were being called to begin new lives, not as fishermen, but as shepherds. When you’ve lived all your life doing one thing, thinking one way, programmed, conditioned in a way, to think and act in a new way takes courage. Breaking free from the net demands courage!
As useful as the net is, for work, for gaining insight, information and communication, a net, in whatever form it takes, is ultimately designed to capture and even trap. God's Kingdom of heaven, something new is, instead, offered - the promise of pure freedom, truth, healing and peace for tired minds, bodies and souls. Is that not what we call out for every day in the Lord's prayer - "Thy Kingdom come.... on earth, as it is in heaven".
What is your vision of yourself here and now? Do you want social media, liberal or conservative, progressive or traditional, right or left, to define you? Is it, I want to be on earth now, as I would be in heaven. What is your vision of marriage? I want my marriage to be on earth now as it would be in heaven. What is your vision of relationships? I want my relationships to be on earth now as it would be in heaven. What is the purpose of your work? It has the same purpose now on earth as it would be in heaven. What is your vision of the parish, of the Church? I want this church to be on earth as it would be in heaven. What vision do we want for our nation? We want our nation to be on this earth as it would be heaven! But be careful! We do not define the Kingdom of Heaven according to our own wants. Instead, it is Christ himself who defines the kingdom of God on earth. We do not define our future. Christ does, through his death and resurrection.
On earth as it is in heaven always begins at this altar, in this Eucharist - God’s gifts of bread and wine from his earthly kingdom lead and point the way to what will finally happen to all creation, to be transubstantiated, changed into the reality of the kingdom of heaven, the resurrected Jesus Christ, God with us. He belongs to this earth as he belongs to heaven. If we can see that, our vision changes and we realize already that heaven and earth are full of his glory. This is the basis of Christian hope.
Christ is on the march again. As he passes you by, regardless of where you are in life, he calls out to you, “Follow me”. Let us pray for the courage to do so heroically, leaving behind the old, worn out recycled definitions of living life in a survival mode, so that bit by bit and with God’s grace, united to the power of Christ’s resurrection from the dead, we can help complete God’s project on earth it is in heaven - to bring to each man, woman and child, the fullness of life both now and forever.
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