Opportunity Knocks

The Nazareth Page - A gospel meditation for your home Depositphotos_151262852_m-2015-clean.jpg

June 30, 201913th Sunday in Ordinary Time - Luke 9:51-72

I think that there’s a bit of a procrastinator in all of us. It’s certainly there in our children. I make a simple request of them like clean the garage, pick up the mess in the yard, straighten your room, set the table or do the dishes and I expect immediate action. In the history of our family immediate response to my requests happened maybe twice – or even less. Of course, when I look in the mirror, I see the face of a convicted procrastinator. My annual, monthly, weekly or daily “to do list,” rarely gets immediate attention, if at all. Important matters almost always intervene, easily becoming excellent excuses for me to delay what I was supposed to do. Sound familiar?

In today’s gospel Jesus calls his disciples to follow him – right away. Let’s get going, he says. Don’t make excuses. The Kingdom of God is now in play. The game is on. Its demands are there right now. So, let’s get going. Don’t waste the precious time being given right now. Opportunity knocks.

All the gospels begin with a declaration that with the coming of the Christ, the Kingdom of God is at hand. Not only has the long-awaited messiah come, he also began acting in accord with its demands. He went about doing good. He healed the sick and brought comfort to the afflicted. Once he rose from the dead and ascended into heaven, he passed on the task of building God’s Kingdom to his followers. It was now their turn to imitate his acts of love and service, especially toward those in most need. Their God-given job was not to begin when they felt like it or were in the right mood. It was to begin immediately!

One of the creative acts of Jesus was to extinguish the separation between the profane and the sacred, what’s thought of as religious and what isn’t. All times and places were now potentially sacred. The Kingdom is now being co-created by God’s Spirit and us, here and now. The Kingdom of God is at hand!

When Jesus was asked to point to a Kingdom gesture, he said that whenever one gave a cup of water to a thirsty child, the Kingdom of God was created. In other words, all gestures of assistance, of doing a good deed, of offering a supportive word, the Kingdom is being created “on earth as it is in heaven.” Each day you and I are invited to acts of discipleship. We are being given an invitation to follow the Lord throughout the day. Are we aware of such invitations? Are we willing to go that extra mile with someone needing a kind word or helping hand? The invitation of Jesus to follow him might come to you in the next minute.

©David M. Thomas, PhD