Kingdom of God in Human Lowliness

November 13, 2014 at 4:42 pm Leave a comment

FINDING THE KINGDOM OF GOD IN HUMAN LOWLINESS

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13 November 2014, Thursday, 32nd Week in Ordinary Time

READINGS: PHILEMON 7:20; LK 17:20-25

http://www.universalis.com/20141113/mass.htm

We all know very well that the Kingdom of God is the central message of Jesus.  All of us are seeking for the Kingdom of God.  In contemporary parlance we are seeking for the presence of God in our lives which brings with it peace, joy and happiness.   For some of us, the Kingdom can come only sometime in the future.  And so we are contented with merely hoping that one day it will come.  But the Kingdom of God that Jesus speaks about is not some event that would happen in the future.  Christ told the people that the Kingdom of God is already functioning.  It was among them.  He was among them and that was the beginning.

But how is the Kingdom already functioning?  For many of us, just like the Jews in today’s gospel, the presence of God is only felt in spectacular events and ways.  Like them, some of us are hoping for some supernatural phenomena, e.g. miracles, healings and visions and apparitions.  Some of us seek for the God experience in some esoteric religious experiences, getting involved in all kinds of religious programs. But these experiences are rare and at times even dubious.  Furthermore, it seems to imply that the Kingdom of God is not always present in our midst when Christ has already assured us that it is already here.

Where else can we find the Kingdom?  Another way in which we experience the Kingdom is when we experience love and care and justice.  Yes, whenever we experience the fruits of the Spirit, we experience the love of God.  But then again such experiences of love and peace are not always present.  Sometimes, we meet a lot of difficult people in our lives; we have misunderstandings, distrusts, backbiting etc.  When that happens it is difficult to believe that the Kingdom of God is present and in our midst.

There is still the third way of experiencing the Kingdom of God.  It is through the way of suffering; the way of sin.  Very often we think that the Kingdom ceases to be operative when sin is present.  But I do not think so and I do not think Jesus feels that way.  In fact He is even more convinced that the full operative power of the Kingdom is manifested only in the apparent victory of evil and sin in the world.  In prophesying about His own rejection, He is telling us that it is precisely when He is rejected and when He suffers much that the Kingdom of unconditional love is clearly demonstrated.

Indeed, let us never forget that the Kingdom is very much operative in our lives especially when we live in a sinful community.  Of course, we must never forget that we are sinners living among sinners, not saints among sinners.   But it is precisely because we are fellow sinners that we must help each other to grow, to purify and convert ourselves through our selfishness.  It is through our innocent sufferings, or even sufferings that we deserve, since we have brought them upon ourselves, that our love becomes purified, that our faith is strengthened.

For this reason, Paul can say in Romans 5:20, that “where sin increased, grace increased all the more”.  And in the process, we will find much conversions taking place, albeit often in painful ways.  But the experience of conversion, like that of the runaway slave in Paul’s letter to Philemon in which he appealed to Philemon to accept him back as a brother in faith, shows the efficacy of God’s Kingdom operating in our lives.

In conclusion, let us pray for the gift of faith so that we can see the Kingdom of God as happening at every moment in our lives, whether through some spectacular events, positive or negative experiences or just simply routine activities.  In fact, most of the time the Kingdom is showing itself in ordinary events; as ordinary as the humanity of Jesus that people often miss it.   Yes, it is when we learn to appreciate all these events in our lives that we will cease to wait for an inauguration day in order to live the Kingdom.  There is nothing to wait for; there is no reason to delay, for the Kingdom of God, as Jesus said, is already in our midst.

WRITTEN BY THE MOST REV WILLIAM GOH
ARCHBISHOP OF SINGAPORE
© ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Retrieved from http://www.csctr.net/reflections/#sthash.bFCYjjml.dpbs

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Entry filed under: Inspiring Faith.

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