Friday, November 16, 2007

Friday word

St. Roch Gonalez, S.J. and Companions (16 Nov 2007) Wis 13. 1-9; Ps 19; Lk 17. 26-37
Homily of Fr. Paul Panaretos, S.J.
To Hold or To Grasp?

The kingdom of God is among you! That well summarizes Jesus ministry in Luke’s gospel. The kingdom is not a place; it is God’s power to sustain life and to transform it. Jesus contrasted earthbound life with kingdom-life. That’s what Jesus’ words, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage in the time of Noah; the days of Lot: they were eating, drinking, buying, selling, planting, building. This last series of words connotes possessions, and possessions ought never overwhelm relationships, even human ones.

Freedom with possessions opens our way to true, right relationship with God. Right relationship with God demands ongoing conversion. Jesus earlier welcomed a disciple to follow him, and warned, don’t look back./1/ More than turning around, that meant looking forward into a new way to be in the world. In today’s gospel selection, Jesus is more clear.

The image he offered of people rushing about a house in a disaster, looking for precious things, invites us to pose this question to ourselves: what keeps the kingdom of God from being most precious? Invoking Lot’s wife allowed Jesus to make that question pointed and critical.

What keeps the kingdom of God from being most precious to me? That’s a most important question for us to ask prayerfully. It’s so important that to pose and ponder it we need the help of Jesus’ Spirit, whom Jesus promised us.

When it comes to the kingdom of God Jesus proclaimed, timing is not important; conversion is. To hold our lives as gifts, not grasping them as our possessions, allows us, with God’s help, to keep them alive. Holding and cherishing the kingdom of God as a gift also trains our vision to become kingdom-vision.

/1/ Luke 9.62.
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