In Matthew 10 we can read: “Jesus said to his Apostles: “As you go, make this proclamation:
‘The Kingdom of heaven is at hand.’” I think when lots of people hear that their first thought is … well, sometimes I have no idea of their first thought. Makes me wonder….
The challenge of those few lines brings one to the intersection of responsibility and desire.As a Christian, do you think it is your responsibility to proclaim the Kingdom of heaven at hand? Do you think, “well… that is the job of the priest or the religious sister or brother.” Pretty sure that command is for the baptized. We are all called, be it by word or deed, to be part of the infusion of excitement and energy about the Faith into the lives of people.
I wonder if we have lost the sense of responsibility and desire. These days there is a constant backchatter about progressive/conservative, authentic understanding of Vatican II, stay out of politics (when the listener disagrees), you need to be proactive (when the listener wants you to agree with them)… and list goes on. It reminds me of the insight of the moral theologian at Duke, Stanley Hauerwas who noted that the problem with Christianity is not that it is socially conservative or politically liberal but that “it is just too damned dull”! I have yet to experience any great return or seen the Kingdom in the endless debates about all the small things of the Church that seem to garner such attention.
Anyway…. looking for a good read for the new year? Try Vincent Donovan’s “Christianity Rediscovered.’ Fr. Vincent (CSSP) served as a missionary to Masai people of Tanzania/Kenya. He made the turn from the responsibilities of running a mission parish (with its far flung Mass stations, schools, and medical clinics) onto the road of desire: proclaiming that basic gospel of Jesus to the Masai people. With the agreement and support of his brother missionaries, Fr Vincent set out to simply proclaim the Kingdom of God. It was a discovery of Christianity for the Masai and a rediscovery of Christianity for Fr. Vincent. His life in mission was anything but dull.