Tuesday, July 17, 2012
Be careful, keep calm and don’t be afraid (Isaiah 7:4)
“Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida!” (Matthew 11:21)
What was the central theme of Jesus’ preaching? “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!” (Matthew 4:17). Yes! The kingdom was finally coming. Yes! The glory and promise of heaven was coming down to earth, bringing with it all of God’s power, mercy, and healing.
But Jesus didn’t only proclaim the coming kingdom; he demonstrated it in all he did. He healed every disease and sickness among the people. The blind received sight, the lame walked, those who had leprosy were cleansed. Even the dead were being raised. The signs of the kingdom were posted in plain sight, and Jesus expected people to see them.
The healings, acts of deliverance, and miraculous feedings should have drawn the attention of the people living in the towns around Galilee. There was Jesus, offering them a new life filled with God’s blessing and presence. There he was, demonstrating the kingdom and telling them that repentance was the only entrance requirement. There he was, offering so much and asking so little. But only a few embraced his word.
The kingdom of God is still visible today. We see it when someone is freed from guilt and shame in the Sacrament of Reconciliation. We see it as we experience the love of our heavenly Father, and our fears melt away. We see it when the Holy Spirit brings a passage from Scripture to life. Wherever we see charity, patience, or self-control, we see the kingdom on display. Most of all, we see the kingdom of God when our hunger for Jesus is satisfied in the Eucharist.
Jesus came to bring the kingdom of God to earth, and that’s just what he has been doing for the past two thousand years. He has never stopped building that kingdom in individual hearts and in the network of relationships that make up his church. We are privileged to see it and we are called to embrace it. So today, let the fire of his love soften your heart and melt away any indifference. Let your pride and self-sufficiency fall away so that you can come under his reign. As you do, you’ll experience the freedom that only citizens of this kingdom can know!
“Jesus, draw me deeper into your life. I want the freedom, the righteousness, and the peace that life in your kingdom offers.”