Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time – July 20th, 2014 – Cycle A
- First Reading: Wisdom 12:13, 16-19
- Second Reading: Romans 8:26-27
- Gospel: Matthew 13:24-43
We are in a stretch of Sundays where our Gospels reveal Jesus preaching to the crowds in parables. The subject of many of those parables, including today’s Gospel, is the Kingdom. Jesus talks about the Kingdom all the time. It was part of the Father’s will for him, that he proclaim and establish the Kingdom. We profess every Sunday in our Creed that he will come again at the end of time to bring his Kingdom to fulfillment. Between now and then, Jesus taught us to pray for the coming of this Kingdom. We do that every time we pray the Lord’s prayer … “Thy Kingdom come, thy will be done …”
So just what is this Kingdom Jesus is talking about and why is it so important? It’s got to be more than just admiration of Jesus’ clever use of similes. Jesus proclamation of his Kingdom should strike us to the heart. We desperately need to understand this Kingdom that Jesus came to proclaim and establish.
Jesus’ Kingdom is nothing less and nothing more than this: life as God created it to be lived; life as God created it to be lived. Jesus’ Kingdom is a life full of meaning, purpose, wisdom and lasting happiness. Jesus’ Kingdom is life lived to the full; where each person can realize their full potential; realize every good thing they were created to be and do. That is the Kingdom!
St Paul understood this. In his letter to the Romans, he defined Jesus’ Kingdom like this: “The kingdom of God is righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.” That’s the goal of Jesus’ Kingdom: experiencing life to the full, experiencing righteousness, peace, and joy; allowing the Holy Spirit to flood our lives with God’s grace; and then letting that grace wash over us so that it rules our thoughts and our actions.
But how do we get there? How do we let Jesus build up his Kingdom in our lives, our family’s lives, and in all the places that we live, play and work every day? Jesus proclaimed and established His Kingdom during his earthly ministry. BUT! He left the building of His Kingdom in the hands of His Church – and my brothers and sisters, that’s you and me. That’s what it means to be a disciple of Jesus. We are called to be His Kingdom builders; his Kingdom builders.
The only way we will ever come to know and be a part of Jesus’ Kingdom is if we have a relationship with him. That’s it! The only way we will ever come to know and then be a part of Jesus’ Kingdom is if we have a relationship with him. He is our Savior and our King; a Savior and King who longs for intimacy with us. We have to come to know him as a brother, a friend, and our Savior. While our doctrines, beliefs and rituals are critically important, they exist only to help us in this quest to grow in communion with Jesus and His Church.
So how do we make sure we have a living and growing relationship with Jesus? Well, there are many ways: praying first and last thing every day. Making divine appointments to spend time with Jesus in conversational prayer every day; spending time in our Perpetual Adoration chapel on a regular basis; participating in a Bible Study where prayer and faith-sharing are integral; monthly sacramental Reconciliation. These are just a few of the many ways we can proactively seek a deeper, more intimate relationship with Jesus and His Church.
But today I invite you to consider a new and exciting way for you to meet and fall in love with, or deeper in love with Jesus. Beginning in late August, we are going to offer the Alpha for Catholics course here at Christ the King. Alpha is a 10 week course based on the Kerygma – the core of what we believe as Christians. The Alpha course opens up the true, the beautiful and the good that is the person of Jesus Christ and His Church.
Each Alpha session begins with a shared meal, followed by a video and then a discussion about the topic presented. Over the ten weeks of Alpha, you will encounter the Lord, perhaps in ways you’ve not experienced before. On Saturday August 23rd, you can “Come and See” what Alpha is all about. At the “Come and See” event, you will be fed, hear an overview of Alpha, and then from there you can decide if it’s for you. If you can’t make it on August 23rd, we will have a second “Come and See” event on Tuesday August 26th. You are encouraged to bring family, friends, and co-workers with you.
Watch for the next King’s Connection and in the bulletin starting next weekend for more details. But put Saturday August 23rd or Tuesday August 26th on your calendar and “Come and See” what Alpha is all about. Come and see who Jesus is and just how much he longs for intimacy with you; longs for your happiness; longs for you to be one of his Kingdom builders.
Jesus’ Kingdom is always alive, dynamic, always growing. Yes, Jesus came to establish His Kingdom but he calls you and me to be his Kingdom builders. And if we are going to be one of His Kingdom builders, we have to know our King and know him intimately.
You see, when we open ourselves up to our Lord; when we commune with him in an intimate way, his grace grows in our hearts like that mustard seed we heard about in today’s Gospel. Little by little, we grow to be more and more like Him. Alpha is one beautiful way to “Come and See” what Jesus has in store for you as a Kingdom builder. It has been said that, “Alpha is like a key which unlocks people’s hearts to Jesus.”
“Come and See” how Alpha can change your life, the life of your family, the life of this parish, the life of our community, and yes, the life of the world. My brothers and sisters, come and see!