September 1, 2020
In the Gospel readings for September, Jesus describes the kingdom of heaven through parables and in conversations with his disciples. The kingdom of heaven is where perfect justice flows. It’s a place rich in mercy and forgiveness. It’s a place of radical generosity. It’s a place of privilege for the most marginalized in society. Sounds heavenly, doesn’t it?
We could use a good dose of heaven on earth right now, for life to return to normal or, at least, for it to feel more comfortable. But the kingdom of heaven Jesus describes is hardly the utopia for which most of us long. This notion of a heaven where we reside in comfort doesn’t help us live as Christ’s disciples in our world as it is.
If we truly want to experience heaven in the world today, Jesus tells us, we need to embrace discomfort. Now is not the time to turn away from the suffering, fear or sinful white supremacy that plagues our nation. We’re called to face it—that is what it means to be Christian. May we be inspired by the words of this Franciscan blessing:
“May God bless us with discomfort at easy answers, half-truths and superficial relationships, so that we may live deep within our hearts. May God bless us with anger at injustice, oppression, and exploitation of people, so that we may work for justice, freedom, and peace. May God bless us with tears to shed for those who suffer from pain, rejection, hunger, and war, so that we may reach out our hands to comfort them and turn their pain into joy.