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It's a Right Pain in the Dough
Gospel reflection for Luke 13:18-21
Today’s Gospel readings can be found on the USCCB website.
What is the Kingdom of God?
Over the years I’ve gone through different beliefs about it. In recent years one thing that has stood out to me in the majority of these kingdom parables is that they are about some type of action. They reveal a tension: the now and the not yet; action and waiting.
Part of that tension is our tendency to slide these into competing areas, but Jesus tells us that the Kingdom of God has arrived; it is in our midst. Yet it’s not fully here; there’s an imperceptibility about the kingdom. The kingdom is here now and is not yet here. There is action and there is waiting. It is, indeed, both/and.
The reason the kingdom had arrived is because it is synonymous with Jesus himself. It is just as true for us now as it was for those Jesus was preaching to: the actions that we do are directly involved in whether or not the kingdom is made manifest in us. At present, the kingdom is manifest in my life when I align myself with God’s plan of salvation, that is, Jesus living in me. This is known by the love with which I live and with which I share.
I have to say, it’s exceptionally hard to choose love when I’m overwhelmed, or when one of my children is screaming in my face with a meltdown, or my senses are overstimulated and I just can not handle another request from someone. My body, my brain, my heart, my soil and dough, feel unable to live up to this action of making the kingdom manifest in my midst. Of loving. What a pain! It is as St. Paul describes, like an imperceptible war within myself between what is of this world (flesh) and what is of God (spiritual). And it is exhausting.
My prayer for all of us is that in these invisible and interior moments we might have the grace to ask for God’s Spirit to do this work in us, for it is something I know that I alone cannot accomplish. It is such a desperate need that fuels the cry, ‘Lord, help! Make all this new!’ May God’s Spirit bring about within us the fruits as only he can make.
O Spirit of the Lord Jesus Christ, kindle within us the fire of your love. May the Kingdom of God be made manifest in our broken and lowly hearts.