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3/26/2020 Third Sunday in Ordinary Time - Deacon Tony

Deacon Tony Conti

Third Sunday in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 67

  • From today’s Gospel… “…the people who sit in darkness have seen a great light,
    on those dwelling in a land overshadowed by death light has arisen.
      From that time on, Jesus began to preach and say, ‘Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.’"
  • I think that most of us can agree that we too often live in a world overshadowed by death and darkness and fear
  • Where’s the Kingdom of God… the Kingdom of Heaven that Jesus promises?
  • The Kingdom of God is at hand – But it’s rarely found in the news...
  • In Chapter 17 of the Gospel of Luke (17:20-21) we read: “Asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, He said in reply, "The coming of the kingdom of God cannot be observed, and no one will announce, 'Look, here it is,' or, 'There it is.' For behold, the kingdom of God is among you."
  • When Jesus says that the Kingdom of God is among you… He could have been referring to Himself… But He also could have been referring to the person to your left and to your right
  • The Kingdom of God is a state of being
  • It’s a way of seeing through the eyes of Jesus… and living in the wisdom of the Gospel
  • It’s a lifelong process to unlearn many of the life lessons that we’ve been taught to help us “survive” in what we often refer to as the real world
  • But what if this isn’t the real world?… What if this isn’t what God intended for the world?...
  • What if we’ve created this world through our human brokenness?...
  • The world we’ve created for ourselves is based upon fear… Which leads to division, and hatred, and violence
  • The Kingdom of God that Jesus offers us is based upon love…which leads to unity, and compassion, and peace
  • We learn fear… But we are love… And we need to be reminded of this every day of our lives…
  • Although we’re created in the image and likeness of God… We need to be reminded at times, that we’re not God
  • This is especially true when we find ourselves trying to control and fix everything and everyone around us…
  • Some of us spend our whole life trying to be God…  Sometimes it takes a lifetime to just learn to be
  • What would our world and our faith life look like if we left the administration of the universe to God, and stopped trying to make the world and others conform to our judgments and our points of view?
  • We cannot find the Kingdom of God until we can stop judging...
  • And we won’t be able to stop judging, until we can change our perspective...
  • Until we can change how we see ourselves, how we see others, and how we see the world...
  • Brene’ Brown observed in her book Rising Strong, that until we can come to accept that most people are doing the best they can with what they have... We’ll continue to criticize and judge them...
  • Brene’ asked her husband, a pediatrician; if he truly believed that most people were doing the best they could… and after much thought he responded: “All I know, is that my life is better when I assume that people are doing their bestIt keeps me out of judgment and lets me focus on what is, and not what should or could be.” (Rising Strong, Pg 113.)
  • Through her research and her experiences, Ms. Brown concluded that once we can accept that most people are doing the best they can, regardless of how dysfunctional they may appear... Then we move from blaming and judging them, to trying to help them....
  • And when this occurs, that's when we cross over from living in darkness and fear to living in the Kingdom of God....
  • God can sometimes be hard to find both in ourselves and in othersBut He’s there if we persist in looking for Him
  • Our faith journey has little to do with reaching perfectionperfection isn’t the goal… the goal is endurance
  • Persisting for the long haul despite our failures, our imperfections, our disappointments, and our wounds
  • Endurance requires faith… a deep and abiding belief that God knows what He is aboutthat God wastes nothing… and that God wants only the best for us
  • We’re each given a basic choice every day… We can choose to join the rest of the world and pile on to the latest scandal… or get absorbed in the latest act of senseless violence… and end up losing all hope that goodness can ever prevail in our world…
  • Or we can choose to begin our day with a few minutes of silence, prayer and thanksgiving… and seek God’s wisdom before entering the fray…
  • With this simple choice of a new beginning each day - We equip ourselves to become more aware of the Kingdom of God that’s all around us… And we slowly learn to begin to see it though God’s eyes...
  • Every day won’t go well… We’ll still face the same challenges that we’ve always faced… But we’ll do so with a new perspective… with a new peace and a new calm within us, knowing that God is in chargeNot us… We’ll do so believing that God remains active in the world through each of us who choose unity over division… who choose compassion over hatred… who choose peace over violenceWho choose love over fear
  • The Kingdom of God is manifested in the world by the choices we makeBy the way we choose to live our livesby the way we choose to treat others
  • The manifestation of the Kingdom of God in the world comes through individuals who allow God to work through them
  • It comes into being through individuals who refuse to lose hope in the promises of Christ…
  • It’s manifested in every act of selflessness… and in every noble gesture…  It’s found everywhere where kindness, forgiveness, and mercy exist…
  • The Kingdom of God is all around us in human beings who every day live to be of service to others
  • The question before each of us is: Will we choose to join them?...

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