October 27, 2020
by Barbara Dilly
Creighton University's Department of Sociology and Anthropology
click here for photo and information about the writer

Tuesday of the Thirtieth Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 480

Ephesians 5:21-33
Psalm 128:1-2, 3, 4-5
Luke 13:18-21

Praying Ordinary Time

Yes, there are some questions regarding these lessons.  If you pick out specific verses and take them literally, we can get tangled up in justifications of our narrow self-interests and generate conflicts. But as I reflect on them in-light-of the Gospel message, I am reminded that Jesus always reveals the mysteries of the Kingdom in very clear words, not in riddles as some people think.  But it has taken me many years to realize this because I was always looking at the details and not the big picture.

In the Gospel message today, Jesus reaffirms what we have read elsewhere, that the Kingdom of God is a state of abundance.  It also seems to me that Jesus tells us that abundance always starts out with something small that grows into something big, beautiful, and harmonious. He also says it takes some participation on our part to experience that abundance.  We can sow seeds.  We can add leaven.  What does that mean?  As I was reflecting on these lessons and the  Kingdom of God today, I remembered what I learned in Lutheran Sunday school about praying the petitions in the Lord’s Prayer.   What does it mean to pray, “Thy Kingdom Come?”  Martin Luther’s Small Catechism taught us that the Kingdom of God comes indeed of itself without our prayer or action, but we must prayer that we let it into our hearts.  Luther then gave us some insights into how does that happen?  I remembered learning that the Kingdom of God comes when our Heavenly Father gives us His Holy Spirit, so that by His grace we believe His Holy Word and live godly lives in time and hereafter in eternity. 

The readings in Ephesians and the Psalms tell us the way to live godly lives starts first with our love and respect for each other, especially in the ways we assume responsibility for others.  We all fall short here, as children, as spouses, as neighbors, and as co-workers.  But if we keep love and respect for others as our principle for living, even if we start small, in fact especially if we start small, our lives will grow into abundant blessings.  This is the principle upon which the Amish base their lives in community.   Whether we want to live the austere lives of the Amish or not, we must admit that they have everything they need and are quite happy people.  They experience abundant blessings.  I’ve spent a lot of time researching them and they summarize what they are trying to do not as living perfect lives in order to get to heaven, but rather, they are trying as much as they can to live in the Kingdom of God on this earth.  They see the Kingdom very clearly as centered in love and respect for each other.  I pray today that we can also see the Kingdom so clearly.

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