Signs of the Kingdom
Updated: Dec 12, 2019
28th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C
In today's gospel, Jesus performs a miracle.
We need to know that miracles are not magic tricks. They are signs.
Jesus begins his ministry by saying, "The kingdom of God has come near! Repent and believe in the good news." (Mark 1:15)
Much of the time, Jesus spends preaching to the people about the Kingdom of God. He tells parables--stories--to help us all to think about what the Kingdom of God is like. To help us to know more about the plan of God.
But sometimes, Jesus doesn't just tell what the Kingdom of God is like. He shows us.
He performs miracles. Signs of the Kingdom of God.
In today's gospel, Jesus heals 10 people who have leprosy. In the time of Jesus, leprosy was a disease of the skin that was highly contagious. People with leprosy would have to live on the outskirts of the villages otherwise they would make everyone else sick with the disease, too. They were considered "unclean" because many people believed that leprosy was a punishment from God for something they had done. They would be separated from their homes and families. They were isolated from the community.
If miracles are signs of the Kingdom of God, what does this miracle show us about the Kingdom of God? What does Jesus do?
Jesus has mercy.
Jesus makes clean.
Jesus brings people back into community.
These, then, are signs of the Kingdom: mercy, healing, cleansing, community.
Jesus said that the Kingdom of God has come near. Can we see evidence of the Kingdom of God breaking through in our day? Where do we see evidence of the Kingdom of God in our Church?
In the Sacrament of Reconciliation, we experience the mercy of God: God cleanses of our sin (our Baptism garments are made white again--forgiveness is freely given!) We are restored to the community of the faithful.
In the Sacrament of the Sick, we experience the mercy of God: God heals us of spiritual and/or physical and/or mental pain. We are brought back into the community from the isolation that illness can bring.
In the sacraments, we can experience a taste of Parousia, the Kingdom of God in its fullness.
What then will the Kingdom of God be like when it is complete?
God himself will be with them; he will wipe every tear from their eyes. Death will be no more; mourning and crying and pain will be no more, for the first things have passed away. (Revelation 21:3-4)
God will be "all in all." (1 Corinthians 15:28)