Wednesday of the Fourteenth Week in Ordinary Time, July 10
May Jesus, Who Has Chosen Both You and Me to Be His Disciples, Take and Use What We Can Offer, However Meager It May Seem, for the Greater Glory of His Most Holy Name.
We read in today’s Gospel our Lord declaring to His disciples, “The Kingdom of heaven is at hand.”
Some of us may have witnessed, at one time or another, people on street corners – especially in the major cities like New York, Philadelphia or Chicago, London or Paris, to name just a few – who stand up bravely and prophetically proclaim, “Repent! The Kingdom of God is at hand!”
The average person will look at them and chuckle to themselves about the oddness of their behavior or the message being announced, but isn’t this exactly what John the Baptist was proclaiming in the desert? Even our Lord, in today’s Gospel, says to His chosen Twelve, “As you go, make this proclamation: ‘The Kingdom of heaven is at hand.’”
Exactly what is this “Kingdom of heaven”, or “Kingdom of God” as we find in other verses of Scripture, about which our Lord is speaking? It was certainly something which the brothers of Joseph, in our First Reading, lost sight of when they sold Joseph into slavery and when they lied to their father, Jacob, that his youngest son had died.
Theirs was a life filled with deceit and jealousy, a life lacking in love and true charity, even towards those of their own blood. And in the life which they chose for themselves, they became as strangers, no longer knowing or fearing the God of their fathers.
They had failed to exercise within their hearts a true fear of the Lord – a love, a respect, an obedience to all that God was expecting and asking of them.
Yet, in spite of the pain which these brothers had caused their family, Joseph was filled with pity for them – not condemning them, but rather showing mercy to those who had hurt him, as the story about their meeting continues to unfold in Sacred Scripture in the Book of Genesis, about which we will be reading in the days to come.
The story of Joseph is one which conveys to us the character of a man, who, even though wrongfully assaulted and sold into slavery by his elder brothers, was one who still felt the Presence of God in his life and lived it in his dealings with others.
In spite of the circumstances in which he found himself – being a prisoner of Pharaoh – he continued to exhibit a character of true God-like piety, which, one day, enabled him to become a trusted foreigner, upon whom Pharaoh learned to depend.
And Joseph continued to live up to his reputation as a fair and just person, exhibiting mercy and compassion to all who were suffering because of the famine which came upon the land of Egypt, affecting even neighboring countries.
And our psalmist today reminds us of what it means to live the Kingdom of God within us, when he proclaims in prayerful song, “…the eyes of the LORD are upon those who fear him, upon those who hope for his kindness, to deliver them from death and preserve them in spite of famine.”
Joseph was a living example of the Beatitudes; he was a living example of what it means to live God’s Kingdom here on Earth, even some 1,700 years before the birth of Christ.
And Jesus, in today’s Gospel, was sending His chosen Twelve out into the world – to proclaim a message of hope and love, a message of forgiveness “to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” Our Lord’s disciples had heard Him preach the Beatitudes from His “Sermon on the Mount”, and they were to take this message to many throughout the region who hungered and thirsted for God’s Truth in their lives.
We must remember that these chosen Twelve were themselves members of the lost sheep. They were human beings with their own faults and shortcomings, not unlike ourselves: Peter could be impulsive; Matthew was known as a tax collector; Judas was greedy, ultimately betraying Christ; Simon was a zealot; John and James were politically ambitious; and Thomas was cautiously skeptical!
And when we look at ourselves, we can find a bit of us in each of the Apostles. But this is God’s way – raising up the lowly – so that, in the newness of faith which has invigorated and lifted up each of our hearts, we, in turn, through our own walks of faith, spread the Good News to others.
And this is God’s way of building up His Kingdom, one person, one soul at a time, so that each one of us becomes His disciple spreading the Good News – the proclamation that God’s Kingdom is truly at Hand within each one of us – filling us with His peace, filling us with joy and guiding us to an ever greater holiness!
Even in our Lord’s Prayer, the prayer which Jesus taught us to pray to His and to our Eternal Father, we pray that God may reign in who we are as children of God and in the world which we live – “Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven.”
The Kingdom of God already reigns within the hearts of the faithful today, but in an incomplete way. And as our Catechism and Scripture teach us, the Kingdom of God will only come to its fullness, and in glory, when Christ finally hands it over to His Father, when “every sovereignty and every authority and power” have been placed under His feet.
As followers and disciples of our Lord, we need to not only hear His message and make it a part of our daily lives, we also need to live it for others to see, so that we may become a holy example imitating the example set for us by the saints, imitating the example of Joseph so long ago.
For it was Saint Francis himself who once said, “Preach the Gospel at all times; when necessary, use words.” In other words, live a life which is Christ-like as a holy example for others to follow.
Let us pray that Jesus, who has chosen both you and me to be His disciples, may take and use what we can offer, however meager it may seem, for the greater glory of His Most Holy Name.
For it is through the faith which we live in our hearts, and the love which we show towards others, especially to those who are less fortunate, whereby we become like that itinerant street corner preacher, prophetically proclaiming God’s Kingdom.
For His Kingdom is not only “at hand”, it is here now within each and every one of us, and also within each person we touch in life! †
Please Comment, Like and Share, and Suggest to your Facebook friends – to spread the message of God’s Merciful Love.
Por favor Comente, Le Gusta y Comparta, y Sugiera a tus amigos en Facebook – en difundir el mensaje del Misericordioso Amor de Dios.
Scripture for the Day
- “As you go, make this proclamation: ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand.’” (Matthew 10:7)
- “Behold, the eye of the LORD is upon those who fear him, upon those who count on his mercy, to deliver their soul from death, and to keep them alive through famine.” (Psalm 33:18-19)
- “In those days John the Baptist appeared, preaching in the desert of Judea and saying, ‘Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!’” (Matthew 3:1-2)
- “After John had been arrested, Jesus came to Galilee proclaiming the gospel of God: ‘This is the time of fulfillment. The kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel.’” (Mark 1:14-15)
- “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 5:3)
- “Then comes the end, when he hands over the kingdom to his God and Father, when he has destroyed every sovereignty and every authority and power. For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. The last enemy to be destroyed is death.” (1 Corinthians 15:24-26)
- “Asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, he said in reply, ‘The coming of the kingdom of God cannot be observed, and no one will announce, ‘Look, here it is,’ or, ‘There it is.’ For behold, the kingdom of God is among you.’” (Luke 17:20-21)
- “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as (it is) in heaven.” (Matthew 6:9b-10)
- “[Paul] received all who came to him, and with complete assurance and without hindrance he proclaimed the kingdom of God and taught about the Lord Jesus Christ.” (Acts 28:30b-31)
- “You are the light of the world. A city set on a mountain cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and then put it under a bushel basket; it is set on a lampstand, where it gives light to all in the house. Just so, your light must shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your heavenly Father.” (Matthew 5:14-16)
Prayer for the Day
“Jesus, Loving Companion of Your children,
You have extended Your friendship to all.
You opened Your arms without discrimination,
offering Your warmth to those seeking comfort.
“Endow me with the virtue of such a friendship,
to know, love and trust all on an equal basis;
To share my friendship without prejudice,
and to be charitable towards those who are less fortunate.
“Fashion my heart to reflect Your qualities,
those befitting a loving and caring spirit.
Jesus, You showed me the way to true friendship;
Help me to be more like You in the world around me. Amen.”Anonymous