As we approach the end of our Liturgical year perhaps we should take a look back as much as we look forward. Look back not just to the beginning of this year but to the beginning of creation. It is there where we are first introduced to the plan of God for us his ultimate creation. That plan involved us being daily in the presence of God, crowned with the glory of God and given dominion of all his creation. That plan also put us into a kingdom that was without sickness, death, pain, war or sin. The scriptures reveal that Christ was present when creation began as was the Holy Spirit.
We know that God’s plan for us to be in his presence did not change after Adam’s sin. God still desires us to be in his presence daily and he desires to restore us to his kingdom. The first recorded words of Christ as he begins his ministry were “this is the time of fulfillment, the kingdom of God is at hand” (Mk.1:15). Luke’s gospel is the center piece of our new liturgical year. Luke if you begin to read his gospel is moving us away from the expected end of the world coming of Jesus. Instead Luke is intent of having us understand what it means to live daily in the kingdom of God where Christ is present. Luke is teaching us how to be disciples experiencing the power of God in our lives and living as witnesses of that power.
He tells us that his gospel was written so we would know “the certainty of what we have been taught” (Lk. 1:4). Luke wants us never to doubt salvation by the cross or how that gift frees us to have a loving relationship with the Father. He also wants us never to forget our calling to reflect the glory of God and to give witness to what we believe. He wants us to know that we daily live in a kingdom where Christ reigns as King.
So Luke takes us back to the beginning of salvation history with the birth of John; John’s preparing the way; Mary’s yes and the birth of Jesus. Then like Mark he has Jesus coming out of the desert “in the power of the Spirit.” Jesus makes his mission clear to us when he tells us that he says that “he must proclaim the good news of the kingdom of God because that is the purpose for which he has been sent” (Lk. 4:43). Jesus also makes it clear the as his disciples we too have been empowered by the Spirt to “proclaim the kingdom” (Lk. 9:1).
This is where we find ourselves as we celebrate this solemnity of Christ the King. He is present to us now and is Lord of this kingdom on earth and he expects something from us as our King. We are to acknowledge him as Lord and submit our wills to him. We are to do his will just as he did the will of the Father. We are to put everything at his disposal; acknowledge that all we have is his. It is clear from the very words of Christ that all we seek is found in Christ. It is very clear from the very words of Christ that the only way to live is to die to self. It is very clear from the words of Christ that “if we deny him before others he will deny us before the Father.”
This kingdom Jesus came proclaiming is where we find joy, peace, forgiveness and where God’s love and mercy is always present to us. Jesus shows us this when he tells us we must seek first the kingdom of God and then all we seek will be found. But try to describe this kingdom to anyone and I assure you words are inadequate to convey its full meaning. I believe that is why Jesus told us what the kingdom is like instead of talking about it in any other fashion.
Jesus tells us the kingdom of God is like a mustard seed that provides its dwellers protection and nourishment. Christ is the seed that provides us all we need.
Jesus tells us the kingdom of God is like yeast that transforms all it touches into something nourishing and good. Jesus told us he would send us the Holy Spirit who will transform our hearts.
Jesus warns us that not everyone who does things in his name will enter the kingdom of God but only those who do the will of his Father. He warns us about our motives for doing “religious acts’ for it is the intention of the heart that is of significance to God.
The kingdom of God is at hand and we are to seek it and once we find it we will find ourselves. I invite you as we are one week away from a Jubilee year and the Year of Mercy to seek kingdom of God which is among us who believe. Let us invite the Holy Spirt into our lives to pour the love of God into our hearts so that our eyes can see, our ears hear and our mouths proclaim God is in our land. Praise Christ King of all the earth.