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Thursday, July 31, 2008

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St. Ignatius of Loyola

Jeremiah 18:1-6
Psalm 146
Matthew 13:47-53

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the funnies

"The reign of God is also like a dragnet." —Matthew 13:47

Some years ago, it was popular to ask the question: "Are we having fun yet?" Those living for God's kingdom would respond: "No, I'm not having fun and I don't expect to." This is not to say that kingdom-living is a "drag," although it is like a dragnet. Being in a dragnet containing old shoes, tires, tin cans, seaweed, or whatever garbage they had in Biblical times is not a pleasant trip (see Mt 13:48). Therefore, if you're struggling in your Christian life, that's to be expected. "It comes with the territory."

To use the examples of Isaiah (see Is 64:7) and Jeremiah (see Jer 18:6), we are like clay which is being pounded, drenched, swirled, cut, molded, and fired. This is not something we feel like doing every day. Kingdom-living does not come under the category of fun. It's beyond that. Kingdom-living is better than fun; it is "inexpressible joy" (1 Pt 1:8). Kingdom-joy is not the absence of suffering, but is proportionate to the sufferings we endure for Jesus (1 Pt 4:13).

Human beings eventually get sick of having fun. Having fun becomes a drag. Look at some of our young people near the end of summer vacation. We eventually want more than fun, diversion, and trivialities. Deep down, we want life to the full (Jn 10:10). We want to seek first God's kingdom (Mt 6:33), even if it is like a dragnet. The question is not: "Are you having fun yet?" but "Are you living in the kingdom yet?"

Prayer:  Father, may Your kingdom come on earth as it is in heaven (see Mt 6:10).

Promise:  "Like clay in the hand of the potter, so are you in My hand." —Jer 18:6

Praise:  In his Spiritual Exercises, St. Ignatius marveled at God's bountiful love expressed in creation, praying "You made all this for me, Lord? All this for me?"

Reference:  (For a related teaching, order our leaflet The Truth Will Set You Free.)

Rescript:  †Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, January 4, 2008

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