The Sacred Scriptures for this day portray loving God’s dream for God’s creation. Jesus unfolded that dream as he preached the coming of God’s Kingdom… healing the afflicted, forgiving the sinner, enjoying meals with the outcasts, touching the untouchables… all elements of God’s Kingdom if only people would be open to our loving God.
God’s dream confronts the Kingdom of Darkness…
45,000 people committing suicide a year,
60,000 people over dosing a year.
Add gun violence, climate change, hurricanes and forest fires to the mix.
Recently all of us Pittsburghers were immersed in the darkness of the Kingdom of Evil… the hateful, anti-Jewish shootings of our innocent Jewish brothers and sisters at Shabbat services at the Tree of Life Synagogue.
The evil of this act is almost overwhelming. Of course, seeing it play out over and over on TV has only added to our immersion in the darkness.
How did we react to this? Many people, Jewish and non-Jewish, gathered together for a number of prayer services. We would not let darkness have the last word or the last image on TV. Pittsburghers assembled to pray and to offer silent witness of our compassion and care for the deceased and for the whole Jewish community. These images on TV showed all of us that evil will not win out, darkness will not overwhelm us, hatred and bias will not go unanswered. This is God’s Kingdom in our world, whether we realize it or now.
I have been privileged to minister to men and women in AA for over forty years. I have witnessed many miracles. I have been privileged to see the struggle of the Kingdom of God against the Kingdom of Darkness. I have seen the daily triumph of light over darkness, sometimes quickly, sometimes slowly. I have heard the life stories of alcoholics at AA open meetings… what it was like as an alcoholic, what happened and what it’s like now…
Now… hope filled lives of gratitude to God and others and service of others.
I have heard so many testimonies of God’s miracles in the lives of men and women.
The Kingdom of God lives. There is hope. There is light. There is goodness. There is compassion. There is healing. God’s dream for God’s children works its way in our world, mostly unseen, but dynamic and miraculous. I’ve seen it and give thanks for it.
Today’s Gospel says it so beautifully.
… I give you praise, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, for although you have hidden these things from the wise and the learned you have revealed them to the childlike.
We are now in Advent… our preparation time for the beginning of our Story of Salvation… God’s dream for God’s children… the coming of Jesus.
Father Donald Ware, C.P.