Monday of the Seventeenth Week in Ordinary Time

Today’s Gospel contains parables from part of the same passage that we heard a little over a week ago on Sunday.  Jesus is teaching about the what is called the kingdom of heaven (here in Matthew) or the kingdom of God (Mark and Luke).  Elsewhere, he tells us that proclaiming the kingdom is why he was sent.

The kingdom of God is already, and not yet.  With the Incarnation, it is already here.  However, we will not see the fullness of the kingdom until the end of time.

Building up and proclaiming the kingdom is a responsibility that we have as members of the Church.  We are called to help make it a greater reality present to us here in this world.  And we are called to share this with others.  Pope Paul VI said that the proclamation of the kingdom and of salvation was the two-fold heart of Jesus’ evangelization.

While the Church, via its members, is proclaiming the kingdom, it is also “establishing herself in the midst of the world as the sign and instrument of this kingdom which is and which is to come (also from Paul VI).” 

Our legal system here seems to take flawed precedents and build further on them to create more decisions that stray further from the truth.  Pornography seems to be protected speech.  Promotion of causes contrary to the Church is also protected.  As Paul VI also wrote, “Why do these things have the right to be put before us, or even imposed upon us?”  Even apparent legal victories are usually only temporary ones that do not restore fundamental essential rights.

Where there is constitutional protection of religious freedom, we find that freedom jeopardized.  Protection against the establishment of a national church has seemingly morphed into freedom from religion that allows religion to increasingly be barred from the public square.  Most certainly it is being barred from the realm of public commerce.  And these developments have also seemingly allowed protection for the free exercise of religion to be ignored.  

But proclamation of the kingdom is not only our right, but our duty.  Even when it is difficult.  Prudence is still necessary to ensure that we do so in a way that is optimally effective (and not self-destructive).

Lay people are still called to sanctify the world by allowing the Gospel to inform their practice of their competencies in the realities of human love, education, professional work, etc.  It is only through them that those realities can be at the service of the kingdom of God.

So, how do we navigate this challenging environment today?  How are we fulfilling our duty to proclaim the kingdom in today’s world?