On Lockdown - Sunday Readings Revisited
Readings from the Eleventh Sunday in Ordinary TimeThe Lord reveals his great love for all mankind. He makes mention of the universal nature of salvation, "birds of every sort," "all kinds of beasts." The New covenant will be the gateway to heaven for all people. It will not be relegated to only the Israelites. The Lord is uses very similar imagery to describe the kingdom of God in Mt. 13:32, when he suggests that the Kingdom of God is like a grain of mustard seed that grows and "becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and make nests in its branches." The reading from Ezekiel is directing us to our eternal end and revealing that the new Israel is to be quite different. The very first line from 2nd Corinthians illustrates the glory of man having one foot in time and the other in eternity. It begins where Ezekiel left off. Our eternal end. St. Alphonsus comments on our eternal end by saying "this is not our fatherland; we are here, as it were, passing through, like pilgrims. Our fatherland is heaven, which we merit by God's grace and our own good actions. Our home is not the one we live in at present, which serves only as a temporary dwelling; our home is eternity." Keeping our eyes fixated on our eternal end, Jesus Christ and eternity in heaven, is not an excuse to sit quietly by while secular pagans take over the culture. Keeping visual lockdown on heaven as our end isn't some dreamy, pie in the sky, means of living. It is the source of our action. If heaven is for those who repent for their sins and continually keep them in their sight, a greater sensitivity to sin will soon develop in you. If you keep heaven in your sight and you see your sin more clearly, you will likely grow in humility. If you grow in humility you will likely repent or go to confession frequently. That's a gamechanger! Keeping heaven in your sight causes you not to sit back but to act. Not to act impetuously, but to act for the glory of God. The Second Vatican Council exhorts, "Christians as citizens of both cities, to perform their duties faithfully in the spirit of the Gospel. It is a mistake to think that, because we have here no lasting city, but seek the city which is to come, we are entitled to shirk our responsibilities; this is to forget that, by our faith, we are bound all the more to fulfil these responsibilities according to the vocation of each one. The Christian who shirks his temporal duties shirks his duties towards his neighbor, neglects God himself and endangers his eternal salvation. Let Christians follow the example of Christ who worked as a craftsman; let them be proud of the opportunity to carry out their earthly activity in such a way as to integrate human, domestic, professional, scientific and technical enterprises with religious values, under whose supreme direction all things are ordered to the glory of God (Gaudium et Spes, 43)." Paul has complete trust not in his own vision but in the vision given him by the grace of God. He trusts that his mission is to bring as many souls to Christ as possible while he is here. What is the mission of the Church? Sanctification and salvation. What is your mission as a disciple? To make disciples out of all nations. Not Sunday mass attendees, rather, virtuous, zealous, evangelists for the Lord. That is your mission! Our mission is much more clear, when we maintain the presence of Christ throughout the day, when we call to mind that he wants each act we do to be an act of love for him, and for our neighbor. The gospel brings all of this together as only Christ can do. The parable of the seed and the mustard seed which Jesus told the disciples, at it's foundation contrasts the great and the small. The seed of the Kingdom of God began with a few followers, who followed Jesus in "fear and awe." It grew in number over time. On Pentecost, 3000 were converted. Through the centuries the Church continues to grow, She is universal. While She is universal, the Kingdom continues to grow in every individual. "The kingdom of God is in the MIDST of you (Lk. 17:21) and "the righteous grow like a cedar in lebanon (Ps. 92:12) are two passages which exemplify this truth. But, we do not grow without God's grace and our participation in that grace. We must conform ourselves in humility to God's doctrine. We must learn to live what we know to be true. God will give us the grace, we must give our fiat. It is Christ who gives us His grace. When we remain in friendship with Him, the Holy Spirit dwells within us, inspiring us and moving us. He moves us to a deeper understanding of the doctrine, of our gifts, and of our mission. He inspires us to respond to God's will. Not just to talk about it, or think about it, but to act on the inspirations he gives us throughout the day. The Holy Spirit aids us in keeping heaven in our sights. As we slowly begin to answer His inspirations, we become more virtuous, more holy. Like Mary, who was asked to bare the cross with her Son, when she was asked to bare Jesus, we must say yes. We must say Yes, I want heaven more than I want fame, popularity, this job or that job, this car or that house. We must keep our eternal end in mind. Because the mission that God has given us isn't simply to get ourselves to heaven, rather, the Church is universal, it is the doorway to heaven for all people who are willing to "repent and believe in the gospel." And it's your mission the mission that God has given us, and you in particular is to be a holy witness, fully participating in that mission.