In the Gospel, Jesus contrasts his contemporaries’ knowledge and understanding of natural processes with their inability to understand the importance of his presence among them. With all their knowledge, they are still unable “to interpret the present time.” The present time is the time of his presence among them, when he announces that God’s Kingdom has come! It is also the time when he is calling everyone to actively participate in establishing the Kingdom on earth. He is calling everyone to action! Like Jesus’ contemporaries we are knowledgeable in many different areas: in history, politics, psychology, gardening, philosophy, and so on. Like them, we may also not realize the importance of the present time, of the Kingdom of God that is growing among us, and of our commitment to this Kingdom of justice.
I am convinced that most of the time we are somewhat aware of the need to live our commitment to God’s Kingdom in whatever we are doing. However, we also experience what Paul describes in the first reading of today: we want to do good, but instead do something bad, that we don’t really intend to do. We want to be supportive of relatives who need a good word but instead waste time and energy with shopping for some trivial items. We want to be involved in our neighborhood but instead watch TV during a residents’ association meeting. We want to live “green” but instead avoid carpooling. We want to spend quality time with our partners and children but instead decide to focus on our work. The list of such failures is long. At times we may be tempted to give up the ideals that are part of our faith commitment. Why to bother with wanting to do good if we cannot live up to our ideals! Paul shows us how to deal with our frustrations. He does not give up because he is convinced that God will do something good through him. What for an encouraging insight! Despite our failures, God will do something good through us. The Evangelist Luke also advices us how to respond to failures: if things go wrong we should not overly worry; we should not loose our ideals and motivation; we should not give up. Instead we should “settle the matter on the way”! We should simply ask God for forgiveness for our failures, apologize to others, and then continue being involved in working for his Kingdom.Failures are common in our commitment to God’s Kingdom, but we believe that God will nevertheless do something good through us, will forgive us when things go wrong, and guide us in our involvement with his Kingdom.
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