Sixth Sunday of Ordinary Time
February 16 and 17, 2019
The one enduring thread that holds all of Jesus’ teachings together is the Kingdom of God. If you are a regular reader of my reflections you may have picked up that I believe that this teaching of Jesus is at the heart of who we are as believers. It should be the reason that we do what we do when we call ourselves followers of Christ.
The heart of Jesus’ teachings on the Kingdom of God is that this kingdom is not simply the afterlife. Jesus makes it perfectly clear that the kingdom is in the here and now, and that its citizens should concern themselves with the rules set forth by its king.
In the Gospel from Luke today we get the rules of the kingdom and they fit in perfectly with the vision of the kingdom put forth by God in the words that God gave to Jeremiah in the prophetic message to Israel. Citizenship in the Kingdom of God is reliant on our abandonment of the ways of this world and our acceptance of God’s vision for this world. We are truly co-workers with Jesus in the way that we feed the hungry, clothe the naked, welcome the stranger, and love one another with the love of God.
Jeremiah tells Israel that when they accept God and repent their “stony hearts” will be replaced by hearts of flesh that are capable of loving others in the exact same way that God loves each one of us. St. Francis of Assisi would tell his brothers that their deeds reflected the love of God so much more than their words. He stole that idea from Jesus directly.
When we act as God’s agents in this world, and make God present in our deeds, we tie directly into our true natures, the reason that we exist. We, fortunately, are not here for ourselves, but we are here for each other. The sooner we understand that the sooner the Kingdom of God will be the reality that Jesus accomplished through his life, death and resurrection. When we get to feeding the hungry, consoling the sorrowful, and caring for the poor, we begin to make that Kingdom, not the next world but in that person right next to us. Let’s start making that kingdom visible today
– Barry Zavislan