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 Fr. Njoku Canice Chukwuemeka, C.S.Sp. He is a Catholic Priest and a member of the Congregation of the Holy Spirit (Spiritans). He is a missionary in Puerto Rico. He is the Parish Priest of Parroquia la Resurrección del Senor, Canóvanas, and the Major Superior of the Congregation of the Holy Spirit (Spiritans), Circumscription of Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic. He was the chancellor of the Diocese of Fajardo Humacao, Puerto Rico. Fr. Canice is a member of the Academy of Homiletics. For more details and comments contact him at: 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 willing to submit to his loving care. The readings of this Sunday, especially the first and the gospel, are closely related. Both bear a powerful message of hope. That is the reunion and restoration of the people of God.
The first reading is a prophecy 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 essential 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 glory to him. Third, in addition to gathering us unto Himself, God will also make us his ambassadors to other nations. Hence, he promises, “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 underscores 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 glory.
The second reading from Hebrews reminds us that obedience and discipline will help us respond and effectively return to the Lord. The path to this return will definitively not be an 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 Hamlet, “Sometimes, I must be cruel 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 comes through hard work and hard work through discipline and obedience.
In today’s gospel, Jesus answers a challenging and tricky question: Sir, will there be only a few saved? His response was straightforward, clever, and of course, an intelligent one. He replies, “Try your best to enter by the narrow door!” So, rather than occupy oneself with arguments about the number of those to be saved, it is better to work hard for one’s salvation.
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 to 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 an effort 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). Thus, we have to prepare ourselves by using the available opportunity present to us all the time. Therefore, God calls us to be focused and disciplined to be part of the great gathering of the saints.
Peace be with you all!