Repent! The kingdom of heaven is at hand, the kingdom of heaven is near. The kingdom of heaven is now. Well the repent part…we’ve heard this before through the prophets of the Hebrew scriptures. And then of course John the Baptist. But now these words are spoken by Jesus as he begins his public ministry. Repent, the kingdom of heaven is at hand. Near. Now. So how has that gotten us? Has it happened already? In the times when we experienced turmoil in our own world, in our own lives. In a time when we experience natural disasters, growing tensions between peoples and nations, widening disparity between the rich and the poor, between the powerful and the powerless, families struggling simply to be family or simply to survive. The kingdom of heaven is at hand. Really? Let’s reflect on this proclamation of Jesus’ ministry. His mission statement. Repent, it’s a call for change. We do see change in our lives. But usually the change we seek is situational. We want to be healthier, we want to be wealthier. We want to be younger. Some of us want to be older. We want to be working. These are all situational changes. The repentance that Jesus proclaims and challenges us to is not situational. It’s a change of heart. A change of perspective. A change of the way we are, the way we be. A turning of our gaze to something new, a turning of our will to something different so that we see ourselves in a different way. So that we see others in a different way, so that we experience our world in a new way. This is the repentance that Jesus challenges us to, that he calls us to. A repentance that then helps to reveal the kingdom of heaven. Not as a place, because we may think this place is the kingdom of heaven. But the kingdom of heaven as a way of being. A way of existing. Paul today writes to the Corinthians, after feeling great sorrow in his own heart. He sees the division, he sees the rivalry. He sees the split, he sees the world as, sometimes we may see the world today, full of tension, rivalries and splits. And may cause us inner sorrow but Paul writes: I urge you, brothers and sisters, not to have divisions among you but to be united. The urging is the same as presented to us today. Not to have divisions, but to be united. Not to settle for divisions in our relationships but to seek unity. To seek reconciliation, this is the way of being with one another. And this is the way of living as the kingdom of heaven. Not as something in the future. Jesus says, at hand. Now! Happening. Not something we could dream about or fantasize about. But we realize it’s happening today. It’s unfolding, our faith is that when Christ came into the world he preached, he taught, he healed. Revealing for us the reality unfolding and through his suffering and death on the cross he brought about a way of being. A way of existing for us. The kingdom of heaven, this was the reality then. This is the reality now. In the gospel Jesus invites his first disciples, ordinary fisherman, to join in this experience of the kingdom of heaven. In the same way he invites us today to live the reality of the kingdom of heaven. We need only to change our perspective, only to change our hearts. We need only to repent.
Entrance: Christ in Me Arise
© 2008, 2010, Trevor Thomson. Published by spiritandsong.com, a division of OCP. All rights reserved
Preparation: The Summons
Text: John L. Bell, b. 1949, © 1987 Iona Community, GIA Publications, Inc. agent
Tune: KELVINGROVE, 7 6 7 6 777 6; Scottish traditional; arr. by John L. Bell, b. 1949, © 1987, Iona Community, GIA Publications, Inc. agent
Communion: We Are Many Parts
Text: 1 Corinthians 12, 13; Marty Haugen, b. 1950; tr. by Santiago Fernandez, b. 1971
Tune: Marty Haugen, b. 1950
© 1980, 1986, 2005, GIA Publications, Inc.
Sending Forth: I Want to Walk As A Child of the Light
Text: Ephesians 5:8-10, Revelation 21:23, John 12:46, 1 John 1:5, Hebrews 12:1; Kathleen Thomerson, b. 1934, © 1970, 1975, Celebration
Tune: HOUSTON 10 7 10 8 9 9 10 7; Kathleen Thomerson b. 1934, © 1970, 1975, Celebration; acc. by Robert J. Batastini, b. 1942, © 1987 GIA Publications, Inc.
Mass Setting: Mass of Redemption
Text: © 2010 ICEL
Music: © Steven Janco World Library Publications
Permission to podcast/stream the music in this liturgy obtained from ONE LICENSE, License No. A-718591.