THURSDAY HOMILY: The Kingdom of God is Among You. Called to Spread the Kingdom
which "in the full sail of the Lord's cross, by the breath of the Holy Spirit, navigates safely in this world." According to another image dear to the Church Fathers, she is prefigured by Noah's ark, which alone saves from the flood."(CCC #845)
We are called to live in the heart of the Church for the sake of the world. We are on a mission to bring the world, through Christ, into the New World of His Church, the seed and sign of the coming kingdom. Again, the Catechism expresses it wonderfully in passages such as these:
"To carry out the will of the Father Christ inaugurated the kingdom of heaven on earth." Now the Father's will is "to raise up men to share in his own divine life". He does this by gathering men around his Son Jesus Christ. This gathering is the Church, "on earth the seed and beginning of that kingdom".
"Christ stands at the heart of this gathering of men into the "family of God". By his word, through signs that manifest the reign of God, and by sending out his disciples, Jesus calls all people to come together around him. But above all in the great Paschal mystery - his death on the cross and his Resurrection - he would accomplish the coming of his kingdom. "And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to myself." Into this union with Christ all men are called. (CCC #541b,542)
"The kingdom of heaven was inaugurated on earth by Christ. "This kingdom shone out before men in the word, in the works and in the presence of Christ" (LG 5). The Church is the seed and beginning of this kingdom. Its keys are entrusted to Peter. (CCC #567)
"Everyone is called to enter the kingdom. First announced to the children of Israel, this messianic kingdom is intended to accept men of all nations. To enter it, one must first accept Jesus' word: The word of the Lord is compared to a seed which is sown in a field; those who hear it with faith and are numbered among the little flock of Christ have truly received the kingdom. Then, by its own power, the seed sprouts and grows until the harvest." (CCC #543)
In Jesus Christ, the Kingdom has been inaugurated. Upon his retunr it will be made complete and fully mainfested in a new heaven and a new earth. We are members of the Body of Christ which makes it present here and now - as seed and sign for a world which is in labor. (See, Romans 8:22) We are a people sent on mission into that world waiting to be fully liberated from the bondage of sin.
Our mission is to bring men and women into the Body of the Savior which is the seed of His Kingdom. As with all seeds, it has the entire genetic composition of what it will be within it. The Kingdom will be manifested in its fullness when Jesus returns as King to "make all things new". (Rev. 21:5) Yet, it begins now - as we live our lives as its seed and sign in the Church on mission.
I conclude with another passage from the Catechism: "The whole Church is apostolic, in that she remains, through the successors of St. Peter and the other apostles, in communion of faith and life with her origin: and in that she is "sent out" into the whole world. All members of the Church share in this mission, though in various ways. "The Christian vocation is, of its nature, a vocation to the apostolate as well." Indeed, we call an apostolate "every activity of the Mystical Body" that aims "to spread the Kingdom of Christ over all the earth." (CCC#863)
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Pope Benedict XVI's Prayer Intentions for January 2013
General Intention: The Faith of Christians. That in this Year of Faith Christians may deepen their knowledge of the mystery of Christ and witness joyfully to the gift of faith in him.
Missionary Intention: Middle Eastern Christians. That the Christian communities of the Middle East, often discriminated against, may receive from the Holy Spirit the strength of fidelity and perseverance.
Keywords: kingdom, church, seed of the kingdom, parables of the kingdom, Year of Faith, new Evangelization, Living Faith, Born Again, Salvation, mission, missionary, Deacon Keith Fournier
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