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THY KINGDOM COME

Father Francis's picture
Ninth Week of Ordinary Time

2 Pet. 3:11-15, 17-18 & Mk. 12:13-17

Some people are born worriers and worry about things which are beyond their control. They even worry about when and how the end of the world will occur. They imagine it to be a frightening experience, as a result of hearing alarming descriptions such as today's first reading in which Saint Peter speaks of a terrible fire that will dissolve the sky and melt the Earth. If we were to take these words literally it would indeed be a terrifying experience, a complete annihilation of all forms of life.

But Peter is using symbolic language. Fire is a standard symbol in the Bible of purification from sin and imperfection. God destroys only evil not good, and His Creation is good. Those of us who try to be good have nothing to fear. God will purify His Creation and so the heavens and the Earth will be new. At this moment we cannot know what the new Earth will be like - only that it will be a place where there is no more evil. There will be love and harmony, as God first intended the world to be.

We, too, will be purified and made ready to inhabit this kingdom. Meanwhile we must work to destroy sin in our lives. That is what the reading has in mind when it says, "My friends, while you are waiting, do your best to live lives without spot or stain so that He will find you at peace." We are not going to be at peace if we are constantly worrying about how the world is going to end. We have enough worries of today without adding imaginary worries of tomorrow. Our preoccupation should be to give God what is His due, as Jesus teaches us in today's Gospel. What is His due? What He wants of us is that we give Him each day of our lives as we live it.

If we trust God the end of the world is not something to be feared. God is in control of His world and we can safely leave its consummation in His hands. No amount of worrying on our part is going to change His plans. But Jesus tells us there is one thing we can do and that is to pray for God's kingdom to come upon this Earth in the words of the Our Father which we say every day. So let us pray earnestly for the consummation of God's kingdom, a kingdom of justice, love and peace.

The question asked by the enemies of Jesus in today's Gospel reading posed a false dilemma - accept Caesar totally or rebel against Rome. His response “Give back to Caesar what belongs to Caesar – and to God what belongs to God” throws the question back to them. Now they have to decide what belongs to Caesar and what belongs to God. Freedom can frighten us and it frightened His audience. How are we using our freedom? How are we using the time God gives us?

Help us, Lord Jesus, to realize that You are calling us in freedom. You respect the freedom You gave us, even if we misuse it. But help us, too, not to misuse it because we want to render a good account of our life at Judgement Day.

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