Scripture: 1st Reading: Rom8,18-25; Resp. Psalm: Ps126,1-6; Gosp. Accl.: Mt11,25; Gospel: Lk13,18-21
In the midst of worries, troubles, afflictions, trials, hatred, insecurity and sufferings, what place does Christian hope occupy? In these circumstances, how attractive is the discourse on the reality of the kingdom? In the face of difficulties, is any mention of a future glory, a future blessedness and joy not a ridiculous proposition?
Our generation is not unique in terms of the experiences it has gone through and is still going through. The persecution of the Church today is not the sole experience of our generation. The difficulties believers face in their labours to bring about the establishment of the Lord's kingdom of love is not exclusive to us.
This is why the words contained in today's First Reading come to us both as consolation and challenge. The word consoles us because from it we know that believers before us suffered for the faith but did not abandon the ship. It comes to us as a challenge to become even more hopeful, more future looking, more joyful because nothing we are passing through now will have the last laugh.
The word tells us today that nothing we are passing through now, this moment of our lives, this hour, is eternal. All our experiences now are ephemeral, transitory and transient like the mist in the morning. But even more than this. The glory that will be revealed to us at the end of our experience is worth waiting for with Christian patience.
From the beginning of time, in the aftermath of the sin of Adam and Eve, creation had been longing for a redemption, a release, a rebirth, a freedom. This is because creation was held captive and in bondage to decay and corruption as a result of sin. Creation awaited liberty and humanity longed and desired the glorious liberty of the children of God that it had lost as a result of sin. Humanity awaited, groaned inwardly for adoption as sons and longed for the redemption of their bodies.
That hope was not lost. The coming of our Lord brought that hope to realization. With His coming and the kingdom He brought, God began a new era of creative engagement with humanity. His coming brought the establishment of the kingdom into reality. The kingdom He brought is like the mustard seed, unnoticed and unrecognizable at first appearance but that eventually becomes a refuge for entire humanity of every race, language, culture and peoples.
That kingdom will grow in spite of it being unnoticed and despite oppositions to its existence. This is because the kingdom has God's hands in it. The kingdom is His "project". Its realization is His priority. What He calls us to is to signify our readiness to cooperate and collaborate with Him. Our sufferings cannot and must never in any way blind us to the reality of our future glory if we are steadfast to the end.
Let us pray: O God our loving Father, we thank you for the gift of your Son. We thank you for the hope of future glory that He gives us as the reward for our sufferings for His kingdom while here on earth. Be with us. Strengthen us to continually and assiduously work for the coming of the kingdom. Amen.
May the Living Word of God find a true dwelling place within our hearts and souls today and always. Rev. Fr. Anthony Igbekele