Monday, January 04, 2016

The Kingdom Of Heaven Is At Hand

We receive from him whatever we ask, because we keep his commandments and do what pleases him. And his commandment is this: we should believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and love one another just as he commanded us. Those who keep his commandments remain in him, and he in them, and the way we know that he remains in us is from the Spirit whom he gave us. 1 John 3:22-24

From that time on, Jesus began to preach and say, “Repent, for the Kingdom of heaven is at hand.”  Matthew 4:17

Jesus proclaimed the Gospel of the kingdom.  Now it is our turn to turn from our old ways – serving the LORD and rejoicing before him.

We started the Advent season hearing the message to “watch” for the lord of the house, the bridegroom is coming. As we close the Christmas cycle, the “watching” is now over. John the Baptist has proclaimed that his joy has been made complete with the arrival of the bridegroom.  The torch is passed to Jesus with the arrest of John.  While John may be imprisoned and executed, mere mortals cannot contain the message of his ministry.

From the very outset of his public ministry, Jesus starts with the very same words that John the Baptist used.  However, by the very fact that Jesus is using them adds a new level of meaning.  In his person and his ministry, the kingdom of heaven has already begun to be present.  The kingdom of God has come upon us. (Mt 12:28).

With Jesus among us, we are called to change and live a life of faith in Him and love for each other as pointed out in the first reading:

Living a life of faith in Jesus and of Christian love assures us of abiding in God no matter what our feelings may at times tell us. Our obedience gives us confidence in prayer and trust in God’s judgment. This obedience includes our belief in Christ and love for one another.[i]

Did you bother to make a resolution this year?  I was struck by the resolution posted by a friend on Facebook. 

My New Year's resolution - to find joy in ordinary life; to be myself; to do what I can with what I am given and with who I am…

My New Year's prayer - "Lord, we don't get mangos from an avocado tree, and we don't get corn from the banana plant. We produce what we are. Help us to be what you need produced." ---Haitian proverb

That speaks volumes of repenting for the Kingdom of God is at hand.

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