Daily Reflection
June 18th, 2006

Andy Alexander, S.J.

University Ministry and the Collaborative Ministry Office
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11th Sunday in Ordinary Time
In parts of the world where the Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ is celebrated Thursday, the following readings are used today:

Ezekiel 17:22-24
Psalms 92:2-3, 13-14, 15-16
2 Corinthians 5:6-10
Mark 4:26-34

I, the LORD, Bring low the high tree, lift high the lowly tree ...
This is how it is with the kingdom of God ...

When Jesus proclaimed that the "Kingdom of God is at hand," the poor, the lowly, the marginal must have rejoiced. The kingdoms of the world are not very kind to the little ones of the earth. Ordinary politics, or the survival of the meanest, never brought about the dignity that belongs to every child of God. The lowest in social standing, political power, and religious status can only hope and pray for the just king in Psalm 72, "He rescues the poor when they cry out, the oppressed who have no one to help. He shows pity to the needy and the poor and saves the lives of the poor." We join the poor and marginal in a prayer of solidarity every time we raise our voices and pray, "May your Kingdom come, your will be done, on earth, as it is in heaven."

In addition to being beneficiaries of the Good News of the coming of the Kingdom of God, we are called, as disciples of Jesus, to be servants of his own mission - to do our part in announcing this hope and help bring it about. This is where we sometimes falter, and grow weak in faith and hope. Sometimes, it is hard to believe that God's justice is really "at hand." Sometimes, we struggle to hope that it is even possible. And, unfortunately, there are times when we ourselves are obstacles to its coming. Whenever I'm a beneficiary of an unjust social structure, it is really hard for me to surrender the benefits that come to me from my status, standing or power enough to even hear the cry of the poor and acknowledge their rights to a more equitable distribution of human dignity. Reflecting on the social sin of our world, and my own selfishness at times, is it possible for me to believe that the Kingdom will come at all?

Today's Gospel is such Good News for us in this situation in which we find ourselves. Jesus says that the Kingdom God will come about in a way that needs our work, but it's grown is a promise of God. It will happen. We can be assured that it will come, with as much confidence that we have that a field of grain will come to harvest. We have some serious sowing to do. The seed can't sit in seed bags in a church basement somewhere. They have to have their chance to be planted in hearts that are open and free. But, then, God will provide the growth.

And, we don't even have to worry about the seeds being small. That's not a problem when God promises something. "My ways are not your ways." (Isaiah 55) Even the tiniest bit of hope and faith, even the simplest of counter-cultural opening to God's ways, will produce enough faith and hope for a very large, sturdy defense for the poor and marginal. God's reign will flourish.

Dear Lord, heal our unbelief. Wean us from all that clouds our vision of your Kingdom. And, let us be sowers of your Good News, with a renewed confidence and courage. Let us tell the world, starting with those closest to us, that we believe you will establish justice and peace among us.

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