Sunday, February 22, 2015

1st Sunday in Lent - Mark 1:12-15 - The Kingdom of God!

The Kingdom of God is at hand!  
It is here and now!  
The Kingdom of God lives within every disciple – within each and every one of us.

Our discipleship makes manifest God’s Kingdom. 
In loving as we are loved by our heavenly Father, we bring the love of God’s Kingdom into the world. 
As we listen to the Word of God, Jesus Christ, we come to know the Truth of God’s Kingdom.  
By living faith-filled lives, we live in the Light of Christ; reflecting God’s Kingdom to the whole world.  
In speaking the truth of the Gospel, we bring His Kingdom into the dark places of this world, so others might hear our witness and come to believe that Jesus Christ is Lord and Savior.

Each day, when we take up the cross of Christ, we profess our belief in God who loves us so: to send His only Son into the world to save us from our sins and bring us into the Father’s heavenly Kingdom where we will live with Him forever and ever.

As Catholics, as Christians, we live in an increasingly hostile world to the love of God.  This is a world where darkness looms; threatening to block out the Light of Life.  Each day we are faced with ever more challenges to living as disciples of Jesus, of practicing our faith and bringing the Word of God, the love of the Father, to the world.

The agents of the evil-one tirelessly work to redefine the meaning of family – the basic faith-sharing core of the Church, where children learn the rudiments of faith from loving committed parents in a safe and stable environment.

Our understanding of marriage is called ‘out-of-touch’ in the modern world: condemned as short-sighted, narrow-minded.  We are faced with increasing pressures to accept the unacceptable - through the rule of law - despite our right to live in peace and practice our beliefs according to the tenants of our faith.

The culture of death advocates that human life, from the very outset is an inconvenience, inconsequential, so therefore disposable.  God’s unique gift of life-creation is reduced to a recreation, where self-indulgence and personal satisfaction are held in higher esteem than the precious gift of loving and sharing life.   

This slippery slope has already softened our worldly culture into accepting as norms behaviors that were unimaginable.  Under the guise of freedoms, the evil-one has enslaved more to worldly pleasures and the pursuit of attractions to things offensive and degrading to the human spirit: behaviors which erode the essentials of dignity and respect which God bestows on each human.

As Christians, we are called to be witnesses of the truth of the Gospel: to live lives of true discipleship in Christ Jesus.  This means taking up our Cross of Christ, the yoke that is easy, the burden that is light, because He is with us, so we may live our faith in the world and bring others to know and love the Lord.  He sends us His Holy Spirit to dwell among us; guiding us through every hill and valley - from darkness into light, so we may place His light on a hilltop for all the world to see.

These are trying times for Christians.  Everywhere we turn we see this world filled with the works of the evil-one.  From our own secular culture; attempting to erase God from our daily lives, to the agents of evil who evangelize by the sword; vowing to destroy the Seat of Peter.

We are a people of the Cross.  We are a chosen people; living in this world, but apart from this world.  We aspire to greater things – to holier things, - the things of God.  We await the coming of our Lord, Jesus Christ in whom we find strength, hope, mercy and love.  
In Him is our peace and our life, 
In Him is our comfort and consolation, 
In Him is our redemption and salvation - for us and for the whole world.

Be filled with the Almighty God,  Father, Son and Holy Spirit, as were the 21 Martyrs of Egypt, who when faced with the sword of evil, - Professed ‘Jesus Christ is Lord!  

Let us declare the presence of the Kingdom of God to be at hand!  
Let us glorify the Lord, by our lives!  
In this Lent, let us repent sins, resist temptations, and avoid the snares of the evil-one, cast off oppression and hatred: reject the treasures of this sinful world and strive to bring about God’s Kingdom for all people.  

Rejoice in the Lord!  Live in Hope of God’s promise of Eternal Life!  Believe in the Gospel!  Profess, by every word, thought and deed, that Jesus Christ is Lord! ~Amen

Deacon Don

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