Thursday, July 12, 2012

The Kingdom of Heaven is at Hand

The Gospel reading for July 12th contains what I take to be the fundamental 'style' of anyone willing to live up to one's Christian baptism:

As you go, make this proclamation: 
"The Kingdom of heaven is at hand." 
Cure the sick, raise the dead,
cleanse the lepers, drive out demons.
Without cost you have received;
without cost you are to give.

I call this the 'style' at the risk of being misunderstood: I'm not saying that Christianity is reducible to a bunch of do-gooders. Were this all it took, one could simply join the Fraternal Order of the Elks or one's local Rotary Club!

By 'style' I simply mean that there is a way in which one is a Christian in this world. Each of us has been marked by the waters of baptism, waters that ran over our heads many years ago, waters that - hopefully - have worked slowly and silently over the years to carve deep caverns within our hearts, caverns yearning to be filled with acts of love. We don't 'cure' and 'raise' and 'cleanse' and 'drive out' because it makes us look good. We do it because it is good, because it is part of our baptismal call, because our freedom is a gift and we wish to give that gift to others. 

Jesus was no fool - he recognized the steep cost of embracing this way of life, the life of the disciple. Some will welcome our words and deeds, others will slam the door in our faces. 

Note: Jesus does not encourage people to Tweet dissatisfaction, Blog about the sleight, or put up a witty Facebook status eviscerating those who deny us. He tells us to move on, to keep going, for there is much work to be done. Rather than giving ourselves the last word, Jesus reminds us that (1) we will face rejection and (2) we need to keep at it, that the Good News is too good to waste time complaining about those who will not receive it. 

No comments: