The great reunion at the Feast of God’s Kingdom
Readings: 1st: Is 66:18-21; Ps: 116:5-7. 11-12; 2nd: Heb 12:11-13; Gos: Lk 12:22-30
This brief reflection was written by Rev. Fr. Njoku Canice Chukwuemeka, C.S.Sp. He is a Catholic Priest and a Member of the Congregation of the Holy Ghost Fathers and Brothers (Spiritans). He is currently working with the Spiritan International Group of Puerto Rico & Dominican Republic. He is the Administrator of Parroquia la Resurrección del Senor, Canovanas and the Chancellor of the Diocesis of Fajardo-Humacao, Puerto Rico. For more details and comments contact him on: email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com.
This Sunday, the church reminds us of the reunion of all God’s people at the feast of His kingdom. It is not only Jews and Christians that the Lord will gather unto himself. He will also gather people from all nations, all those who are willing to submit to his loving care.
The readings of this Sunday, especially the first and the gospel are closely related. Both bear a very strong message of hope. That is, the reunion and restoration of the people of God.
The first reading is a prophesy about the return of God’s People to Jerusalem. It is an assurance that God will fulfill his promises to us. Here, the prophet makes three important points. The first is that God will soon fulfill his promise of restoring us to himself. He will surely do this to show his saving power.
The second is the fact that God has a purpose for this gathering. This is for the glory of his name. In order words, every work he does has the remote aim of giving Him glory. Third, in addition to gathering us unto Himself, God will also make us his ambassadors to other nations. Hence, He promises thus: “I will give them a sign and send some of their survivors to the nations…that have never heard of me or seen my glory.” This also underscore the missionary nature of our call. God initiates it, and then uses us to accomplish it. Hence, God commissions us to: “Go out to the whole world and proclaim the good news.” This good news is that God will restore our lost glory, for the sake of his own glory.
The second reading from Hebrews reminds us that it is obedience and discipline that will help us respond, and effectively return to the Lord. The path to this return will definitively not be easy one. In it, we shall encounter thorns and pains. As a loving father, God will also reprimand and punish us. However, this is in order to correct and guide us through the right path.
Williams Shakespeare wrote in his novel, Hamlet: “Sometimes, I must be cruel, in order to be kind.” As a loving father, this is the way God also handles us at times. He is the porter and we are the clay. He crushes, treats us hard, and finally molds us into a beautiful shape (Jer 18: 1-17). So, we must learn to endure as Christ did through His suffering and death on the cross (Phil 2, 4). This is important if we must witness the glory of God. Success is achieved through hard work and hard work through discipline and obedience.
In the gospel, Jesus answers a very difficult question: Sir, will there be only a few saved? His response was very simple, smart and of course, an intelligent one: “Try your best to enter by the narrow door…! Rather than occupy oneself with arguments about the number of those to be saved, it is better to work hard in order to be saved. Through this, Christ reminds us that the invitation to His feast is open to all. However, each person must struggle to be there. We must do what we have do by playing our roles well. This is the only way we can be guaranteed a place in the feast of the kingdom of God.
In order words, it behooves us as individuals to make effort in order to be at the glorious gathering of the saints. Hence, Paul admonishes us to: “…Work out your salvation with fear and trembling” (Phil 2:12). This means that we have to put ourselves together by making use of the available opportunity in order to get ourselves prepared at all times. We are therefore called to be focused and disciplined in order to be part of the great gathering of the saints.
Peace be with you all!