We Are Called to Live With Unwavering Hope

We Are Called to Live With Unwavering Hope

Since the words “The Kingdom of God” might sound vague to some, to make Jesus’ teaching clearer, we could replace the words Kingdom of God with the following words: “God’s presence and action in the world.”

We are familiar with the three parables found in the Gospel for the 16th Sunday in Ordinary Time. They reveal to us three crucial aspects of God’s Kingdom, of God’s presence and action in the world. (Matthew 13:24-43)

The first parable deals with the ability Jesus gives us to discern what comes from the Kingdom from what is attempted sabotage of his rule over us. The second parable reveals the inner power of God’s Kingdom, and the third one describes the transformation operated by the presence of God’s Kingdom in one’s life.

In the first parable, Jesus makes us aware not only of the initial difficulty in distinguishing “good grain” from “weeds,” but also of the presence of THE Enemy, Satan.

The owner of the field declares: “an enemy has done this.” (Matthew 13:28) It has been correctly stated by several saints that Satan’s best achievement has been the one of convincing so many that he does not exist: thus, making his work of deception and falsehoods so much easier. Satan, Master of deception, employs several means to deceive us so that we might, despite good intentions, wind up cultivating evil in our hearts. It happens whenever, rather than capitalizing on God’s presence and light, we are fooled into listening to THE Enemy and his deceitful ways of reasoning. Satan uses our mental laziness, our ability to rationalize, all kinds of lame excuses, hardness of heart, arrogance, and an obtuse spirit to convince us to close our spiritual eyes and ears and to shut our heart to God’s grace.

The antidote to Satan’s misleading ways is God’s word. Only in the light of God’s word can we regain the ability to discern God’s will from Satan’s deceptions.

God’s word confronts us in the readings at the Table of the Word every time we come to Holy Mass and in the homily, but also in spiritual direction, in counseling, in meditation and contemplation of Holy Scripture, especially the Gospel, if we embrace this confrontation with genuine humility and openness of heart. It is spiritually beneficial to be humbly aware that Satan, the Master of lies can fool us easily and repeatedly. For years, for decades, driven by hubris and the illusion of spiritual self-reliance, we might have turned down the light of discernment offered by those appointed to explain God’s truth to us.

Inspired by God, St. Paul reveals the essential importance of his priestly service of God’s word:

“… to be a minister of Christ Jesus to the Gentiles in performing the priestly service of the gospel of God, so that the offering up of the Gentiles may be acceptable, sanctified by the Holy Spirit.” (Romans 15:16)

Without the help of those called to do this priestly service of explaining God’s word to us, we cannot do Eucharist correctly and grow spiritually. The Table of the Sacrament and Holy Communion depends on our previous openness to the Table of the Word. Without the challenge, light and guidance of God’s word we would be unable to offer our bodies as a spiritual sacrifice in union with the sacrifice of Christ on the cross. (cf. Romans 12:11)

A second crucial aspect of God’s presence and action in the world and in our hearts is that his Kingdom starts very small inside us and requires firm confidence and considerable patience both from us and from God, in all like the confidence and patience that parable’s farmer has in the tiny mustard seed he planted in his garden. However, meager results of God’s presence and action in our life, can never be attributed to him, but must be attributed to our weak faith, hesitations, fears and, of course, to our ever-present impatience for quick results.

The third and final aspect of the presence and action of God in our life is supposed to spawn an ongoing remaking of ourselves after the image and likeness of Christ Jesus. The image of a pinch of yeast, in our acceptance of God’s presence and action in our life, must be taken as the necessary element which makes the difference between an inedible “brick” and a delicious loaf of bread.

In 1 Corinthians 5:6-8 and in Galatians 5:9, St. Paul explains that the yeast which, through a gradual transformation, is meant to make us into replicas of Christ Jesus, consists of deep-seated consciousness that no sin should be taken lightly, and an all-encompassing humble inner disposition accompanying a spirit of sincerity and truth in all we do.

Hence, from now on, we should not approach the Table of the Sacrament and receive the Lord in Holy Communion before we firmly decide to accept any challenge Jesus makes us face at the Table of God’s word. We are people called to live, daily, with unwavering hope about the full realization of God’s Kingdom. That hope is a most precious gift which must be sustained by openness to divine light, untiring patience, genuine humility and constant trust in the infinite power and love of our God.

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Written by
Fr Dino Vanin