Word for Word 11/23/22

Msgr. Ed Lechtenberg
Msgr. Ed Lechtenberg

2 Samuel 5:1-3
Collosians 1:12-20
Luke 23:35-43

Today we celebrate a feast in honor of a King, Christ the King. No ordinary, run-of-the-mill king, this one. He’s the one they whipped and beat half to death. And then some smart-alek idiots presented him with a crown, a crown of thorns. They jammed that down on his head and then they put a cloak on him, a royal purple cloak, and then they mocked him, laughed at him, and called him King.

OK now, that is Our King. Do you like your king?

Or would you prefer a king who sits on an expensive throne in an expensive mansion, who rides around in a chauffeured Rolls-Royce, who robs his people blind so that he can live a life of ridiculous affluence?

That’s not the king we have. Not at all! Our king rides a donkey. He hangs out with publicans, sinners, and poor people. So, if that is the kind of king we have, what kind of kingdom are we supposed to be? A kingdom of peace and justice. A kingdom that spans both an earthly reign and a heavenly reign. A kingdom for now and forever. It is not a kingdom that is forced on us; it’s a kingdom that we can enter freely.

OK, do you want to belong or not? Or maybe a better way to ask the question is, “How do I know I belong to the Kingdom of God or not?”

Merely to say I believe in God does not make me a member. As Jesus said, “Not everyone who says, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter into the kingdom of God.”

There’s more to it than that. There’s Baptism. But again, Baptism alone doesn’t mean that you have en­tered the kingdom of God, although it is important. Going to church on Sundays, by itself, doesn’t mean you’ve entered, although being an integral part of a worshiping community, receiving the body and blood of our Lord Jesus is a requirement.

Am I talking in circles? What is this kingdom?

This kingdom is us. We are it. The kingdom of God is here, now. But it is also a process. It is a process of becoming. In our universal prayer we ask of God, our Father, that “His kingdom may come; that it be here on earth just as it is in Heaven.”

Furthermore the kingdom of God is a relatfonship. It is a relationship among all of us, and it is a relation­ship between all of us and God.

How do we relate to others and to God? In peace and justice.

We live in the kingdom when we believe in Jesus and accept him as the Lord and Master of us all.

We live in this kingdom 1.) when we earnestly struggle to live the life Jesus outlined for us in the gospel, 2.) when we obey the commandments of love, 3.) loving God above all things, and loving other people in the same way that we love ourselves, 4.) when we let the spirit of the beatitudes direct our lives, that is when we become peacemakers, when we know we are spiritually poor, when we are kind and gentle of heart, when we hunger and thirst for justice, when we give to others all that we owe them, when we are generous to all.

Jesus says we’ll be welcomed into the kingdom when we give a drink of cold water to someone who is thirsty, when we feed the hungry and clothe the naked, when we visit the sick and the imprisoned, when we welcome strangers and outsiders. And we will be rejected from the kingdom when we neglect to do these things.

The kingdom of God is important. It is not to be trifled with. It is the pearl of great price. We sell all that we have in order to get it.

It begins in us in a small way. It’s as tiny as a mustard seed, but it grows into a tree so large that birds come and make their nests in it.

The kingdom is a call from God. When we re­spond to the call our response should involve all that we are. The person who puts his hand to the plow and the looks back is not worthy of the kingdom. It is a call to total and radical obedience, obedience to the Spirit of God in our hearts.

Msgr. Ed Lechtenberg