Sunday, July 20, 2014

The Kingdom of God is Like ...

In a particular passage of Luke's Gospel (chapter 9) Jesus and his disciples are on their way to Jerusalem.  The disciples go on ahead to prepare for Jesus' passing through some of the various towns and villages.  One town refuses to receive Jesus, and throws the Disciples out of town.  The disciples are upset and suggest to Jesus that he call down from heaven fire and brimstone to destroy them.  Jesus does not justify the comment with even a response and moves on to other towns.  Such is the disposition of our God and Father in heaven.

In the middle of our hurt and pain we want to inflict injury upon those who have harmed us.  The love and mercy of God knows no limits or exceptions.  Throughout the Sacred Scripture, and best demonstrated by the Paschal Mystery, God continues to love and care for all peoples.  And as pointed out in Matthews Gospel in the demonstration of the Wheat and Weeds, the Mustard Seed, and the Leaven story, God knows of our brokenness, but knows also we are good and sacred.  Most importantly we are all made worthy of God's love.

When we are told that we must love even our enemies, we immediately think of some '60s T.V. commercial whereas all are holding hands, swaying and singing together.   There is evil in the world and some men and women reject whatever is good, beautiful, and true.  But we cannot wish them harm or distress, or even more so support actions and activities that causes them hurt or distress.  Too often the news of the day is filled with the anguish and pain of a peoples who suffer from centuries old hurts and wounds.  Reconciliation and peace-making must be part of our life-response.

The story of the Prodigal Son is a powerful illustration of the love and mercy the Father holds out for us.  The younger son really desired that his father die, so that he might have the inheritance.  The father is shown to be faithful and full of love and compassion.  Even after the son's return, the father refuses to treat him as anything less than his son.  We are asked to have that same level of compassion and kindness towards each.  That we might respond in love rather than anger or hostility.  We pray that we might have the courage to forgive as we are forgiven.

The Kingdom of the Good Shepherd is certainly one of light, happiness, and peace.  Like true disciples, we are faithful stewards of the gifts and people God the Father has set before us.

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