Homily while in training - Saint Paul University Seminary - S.P. Institute of Pastoral Studies - St. Elizabeth of Hungary, Nov. 17, 1981

 The Kingdom Is Now

Le désir d’appartenir est universel, et notre foi allume en nous le feu qui guette le Royaume. À tout âge ils nous sont donnés des signes indicateurs de sa présence, dans les personnes et les événements de chaque jour. Arrêtons-nous et soyons attentifs, dans la solitude comme dans le partage, aux moments d’humour et de larmes, d’angoisse et de joie, de faiblesse et d’amour : - pour y voir les signes; pour y découvrir le Royaume qui nous précède.

The striking personal differences in persons that we know invite from us an equally personal response; which either brings us together or sets us apart. There comes a moment of truth. Remember the baseball fever that gravely afflicted some of us a month ago, or the far-out costumes that some of us brought to life at Hallowe’en: from the Wicket Witch to the Happy Clowns. We laugh and sing about our differences, or accept them after some difficulty; because, “After all, variety is the spice of life!”

On a deeper level, we are moved when a person’s whole being is filled with sadness, anger, pain – for them a searching moment of truth; or elated by friends who are married, give birth to a child, or return from a retreat – as they overwhelm us with a joy they cannot contain… a beautiful moment of truth.

Such is the experience of Eleazar – a 90-yer-old man still filled with awe for the Almighty. This intimate relationship, enfleshed in the tradition he received as a boy, continues to fill his life with meaning and peace. He is glad to tell the world; - even if his friends don’t understand and the henchmen beat him; it is his moment of truth.  We see here an old man caught up in a powerful vision of the Kingdom – a vision which his friends cannot share – reluctant as they are to endure the same death. Remember Pontius Pilate who later found himself equally reluctant to share Jesus’ vision of the truth; - he heard only the words.

Zacchaeus experiences the unexpected; - “What they say is too good to be true!” Bored with life, he boldly displays his eagerness to catch sight of this Jesus; - who immediately under-stands him as he sits in the tree. The door to the Kingdom swings open, and Zacchaeus joyfully enters in! – surprising yet longed-for moment of truth – giving his life new value and purpose. Yet the joy of this encounter touches no sympathetic chord in his onlookers; only self-righteous annoyance and jealousy.

The Kingdom is here: waiting behind the doors of every person, moment and space, every encounter and inner experience. The doors aren’t always open to our awareness, and the door that opens is often unexpected. As Master of the House, Jesus knows which doors are the most accessible for us, and He opens them… even catching us by surprise. Others might not see the opening at all, but our heart beckons us on…. What joy waits for us there. What greater joy there is when we also see others enter the Kingdom through their experiences – how enriching to let their vision strengthen our own as we journey…. God as we worship – in Spirit and in truth.

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© 2006-2021 All rights reserved Fr. Gilles Surprenant, Associate Priest of Madonna House Apostolate & Poustinik, Montreal  QC
© 2006-2021 Tous droits réservés Abbé Gilles Surprenant, Prêtre Associé de Madonna House Apostolate & Poustinik, Montréal QC

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