Our Father… Your kingdom come!
SIXTEENTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME
We are at the 16th Sunday of the ordinary time. The key word that we have just heard from the gospel is the kingdom of heaven. We have heard it thrice from the mouth of Jesus: the kingdom of heaven may be compared to…, the kingdom of heaven may be compared to…, and the kingdom of heaven may be compared to…
When we were children we used to think of the kingdom of heaven as a place above the clouds in the sky or a place where we go after death; all in all, the kingdom of heaven has nothing to do with our life here and now on earth. Actually, when the gospel speaks of the kingdom of heaven, heaven here does not mean the sky or the space used by airplanes and satellites. It is not a place but a way of being, namely, the way God treats each of us in his perfect love. This way is said to be in heaven because it is hidden and invisible to our eyes. Human beings cannot understand it fully while we are still on the earth.
Yet, it is what we pray about often times, at least once a day, we say “Our Father… Your kingdom come and your will be done on earth as it is in heaven…” In short, every day we pray that God rule in our hearts so that God’s way of being and doing be the driving force of our actions. If God’s rule molds the life of each of us, each one’s good deeds – even the smallest ones like a mustard seed or yeast – will be a useful contribution to witnessing to the presence of the kingdom of heaven on the earth.
The question each one of us may ask himself is: “What is the driving force of my heart? Is it pride, selfishness or the love of God and of our fellow brothers and sisters?”
To give but an example of what happens when one’s life is driven under the dictate of selfishness. For a good celebration of the patronal feast of a certain parish, the parish council requested each parishioner to bring a kilo of rice. A big container was placed at the church entrance so that each parishioner could just pour out discreetly one’s kilo of rice inside the container at his/her convenient time. The container was covered so that nobody could see what was inside. Each parishioner said to homself, we are many in our parish for sure everybody will bring a kilo of rice so, instead of bringing a kilo of rice, let me just bring a kilo of sand. Anyway, this will get mixed up with hundreds kilos of rice so that nobody will notice it. So each of them came with a kilo of sand and poured it into the big container. When the time to take the rice from the container to the kitchen came, they opened the container and instead of finding rice; they found that the container was filled with the sand contributed respectively by each parishioner. What a shame! Each one was responsible for that misdeed!
Dear brothers and sisters, none of us is excusable when we pray about the coming of the kingdom of God on earth. When selfishness drives our lives we run the risk of being like darnel that Jesus talks about in the gospel. We know very well what our destiny will be. Jesus warns each of us: “Listen, anyone who has ears.” Whoever you are, whatever you do, when inspired by God’s rule, you give your contribution for the coming of God’s kingdom here on earth. To give some concrete examples, when animated by the spirit of the kingdom of heaven consider the following:
Our political leaders should spend less time in distracting rivalries between political parties at this time when our country is heading toward the elections. Instead, they should come together and work hard for the development of the country and the fair share of our natural resources through various means: education, health…
Parents should live in love and mutual understanding. This would lessen the rate of divorce, domestic violence in different ways, and cheating all around.
Youth and children should respect and obey their parents. Hence, issues like teen pregnancy and children on streets might decrease.
Even vendors in markets and those who own small business in their houses, I mean casual shops in neighborhoods, are called to conduct their business in honesty and fairness so that they relieve the suffering of the others. In markets, some scales, cups or rubbers have been adjusted just to cheat customers. One intends to buy two kilos of something but in fact, he brings back home one and half kilos. How can the suffering stop?
Judges, lawyers, soldiers, police officers and the likes are expected to be guided justice and fairness in order to stop cases related to trouble-making, stealing, corruption, killing… nowadays most of these cases are not prevented.
All this may sound idealistic but with the eyes of faith they may becoe real and not impossible, as we draw our strength in considering the fulfillment of this kingdom in the life to come. Each of us has his/her part to do for the advent of this kingdom. Each of us just needs to be serious. It is hard, for sure, but the Holy Spirit is with us as Saint Paul assures us in the second reading: “The Spirit comes to helps us… the Spirit himself expresses our plea in a way that could never be put into words, and God who knows everything in our hearts knows perfectly well what he means,…” It is in trying to do our best, of course with the help of God, to start living according to this kingdom of heaven here on earth that we journey toward the fullness of this kingdom in the life to come; where there will be joy and happiness forever and ever. Amen!