Liturgical Year B

The Last Sunday of the Church Year; Christ the King

In the early 70’s, before anybody in the Catholic Church here in Ireland, has started to speak and be active in, what we call today social justice and human rights, Peter Birch, the bishop of Ossory was one of the Irish pioneers in this apostolate. Once he asked Jean Vanier (if you don't know who is he go to this link) to speak about L’Arche and his ministry to people with special needs. By the way, the first L’Arche Community in Ireland was established in the rural parish of Kilmoganny and Dunnamaggin. At the invitation of the Rev. Birch, Jean Vanier came to Kilkenny and personally became involved (with the help of his sister Thrése), in founding of the community. Anyhow, when Vanier finished his talk one religious, thrilled by what she just heard, asked him: “This is so great, so new, but what can we do here in Ireland?” Vanier was quiet for a moment and then he slowly replied: “Relax, smile, be humble.” If somebody asks me how to build the kingdom of God in today’s world or what it means “your Kingdom come” from our everyday’s Our Father I’d reply the same: “If you really can, right now, relax, smile and be humble.” You know something about the Kingdom of Heaven, actually when you live it. Believe me it’s much easier to find somebody who actually lives it in the place like L’Arche than in a place you’d expect to be the front porch of heaven, for instance, some religious community.

Jesus was a strange king with his crown of thorns and his purple robe, but it’s even more strange what he really meant when he was speaking about his kingdom, the heavenly kingdom, Father’s kingdom. The only thing I remember from my eschatology classes (a branch of theology that is concerned with the ultimate things like death, heaven or hell) is: it’s already here, but still not fully. A strange phrase, isn’t it? It means that the Kingdom of heaven has started with Jesus appearance on the Earth but its fulfilment is to come by his second coming. To be honest, apart from Vanier, I’ve learned much more about the Jesus’ kingdom from another French speaking guy – brother Roger from Taizé. One of the Taizé songs, originally in English, says:
The Kingdom of God is justice and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.
Come, Lord, and open in us the gates of your Kingdom.

This is the best definition ever.  And the best way to pray that “your Kingdom come” – in my heart, in your heart, in this world. Just pray and sing with these guys.

Dublin, 2012.

23.11.2012.Author: p. Antun Volenik, SJ
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