Today’s continued Sermon on the Mount brings us to one of the great Biblical memory verses: Matthew 6:33: “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be given you besides.” This brings us to the greatest question in life: what is the highest good in your life? What is the “summum bonum” is the great philosophical question of each person in each age.
For the Christian the “summum bonum,” the greatest good is the Kingdom of God and so we seek it above all other things. Careful to direct our passions and appetites, we are driven to order our lives to the freedom of living in the Kingdom of God already begun but not yet fully realized. The fact that heaven, the Kingdom fulfilled, is the most important goal of our lives gives meaning to the beauty in this life. Every thought, word and deed of ours has a deep meaning in this life and brings true joy to us because we are freely living our commitment to the “summum bonum” – the Kingdom of God which exists now, right now. The Christian sees joy in each minute because he is free to enjoy each minute. By his own choice in good and difficult times, the Christian is able to see the meaning of struggle, effort and accomplishment in his own personal development of character and in his involvement in adding to the development of a culture of true humanity, of life.
Thinking man, man who has realized he does not have to be a brute is able to be a good steward of his life and all that is involved in that life. St. Paul reminds us today that: “Thus should one regard us as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God.” Those “mysteries” are the Sacraments, the personal encounters with the Risen Lord, the mystical, real engagement of the Will of God and our own humanly frail wills. Our wills are strengthened by this engagement, this encounter with Christ in His Sacraments and we are indeed enabled to “seek first the Kingdom of God.” This is the consolation the prophet gives us today. Isaiah reminds those in exile (we are in exile from heaven although we are involved in it when at the Liturgy of the Church) that they are going to return to the kingdom. For the Hebrews the kingdom was understood as the religious kingdom of God with the Lord as ultimate ruler and guide.
We are all in the process of returning our souls to living in the present kingdom of God oriented to the complete fulfillment in Heaven. Let us “Seek First" above every other goal, every other point of reference, the fulfilled Kingdom of God. But let us enjoy every moment in that journey in this life. God has come to save us from a non-divine existence – NOW. We live in the presence of the Lord as we live seeking the Kingdom.
Lent begins this Wednesday, March 5, Ash Wednesday; it is a sacred time of deep conversion for us. The Wednesday Mass schedule is in this bulletin. While only Catholics receive Holy Communion and the other Sacraments, all people are invited to share in the sacramentals of the Church and so are welcome to approach us to receive the ashes. Remember, by approaching to receive the ashes, a person is making a pledge to enter the holy pilgrimage of Lent and work at further conversion. The goal of this conversion is to prepare us to renew our Baptismal promises at Easter so that we can experience the grace of our Easter Communion. Our Fasting, Prayer, and Almsgiving will lead us to the renewed hearts, which will lead us deeper into union with God. Be sure to include in your Lenten Plan to be with us, your family, for Stations of the Cross or maybe daily Mass. What will be your plan? Write it down and place it in your prayer book so you pray over your plan each day.
• Daily Mass?
• Daily Mass Readings?
• Daily Rosary?
• Fasting? Prayer? Almsgiving? What specifically will you do?
• Personal mortifications?
May our Lady keep you in her care and our Lord grant you abundant blessings!
With my prayers,