Servants of the Pierced Hearts of Jesus and Mary - Homilies


Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe
Fr. Jonathan L. Reardon
November 23rd, 2014
Year A

In our treasury of Catholic prayers, one stands out among them all that has so much depth that many saints have written books and meditations on this prayer alone. I’m speaking of the Lord’s Prayer – the Our Father. Since it comes from the mouth of our Lord Himself, St. Thomas Aquinas called it “the perfect prayer.” It contains seven petitions that express the basic needs of the human person – the need for God, to do His will, for daily bread, for the forgiveness of sins, for protection from temptation and the deliverance from evil, etc. Pope St. John Paul II speaking about this prayer once said that: “Everything that can and must be said to the Father is contained in those 7 requests which we all know by heart. There is such a simplicity in them that even a child can learn them, but at the same time such a depth that a whole life can be spent meditating on their meaning.” One of those petitions stands out among them all – thy kingdom come. Today’s solemnity of Jesus Christ, King of the Universe, affords us the opportunity to meditate on the meaning of this petition of the Lord’s Prayer.

Advéniat Regnum Tuum – thy Kingdom Come is the second of the seven petitions and goes right along with the third: Fiat voluntas tua, sicut in coelo, et in terra – thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. What does it mean to pray for the kingdom to come? Here we are looking first to Christ's return and we're looking to the final coming of the Reign of God. We are also praying for the growth of the Kingdom of God in our own lifetime, not just the future growth, but asking to happen during our own lifetime as well. It seems to me that Gospel of the Mass today highlights the growth of the kingdom on earth. St. Paul highlights this in his letter to the Romans: “For the kingdom of God is not a matter of food and drink, but of righteousness, peace, and joy in the holy Spirit; whoever serves Christ in this way is pleasing to God and approved by others. Let us then pursue what leads to peace and to building up one another.” And the Catechism puts it this way: “By a discernment according to the Spirit, Christians have to distinguish between the growth of the Reign of God and the progress of the culture and society in which they are involved. This distinction is not a separation. Man’s vocation to eternal life does not suppress, but actually reinforces, his duty to put into action in this world the energies and means received from the Creator to serve justice and peace” (n. 2820).

In other words, the kingdom of God is realized and actualized not in service to ourselves but to each other. We live and breathe the kingdom when we step outside of ourselves, when we become a gift to each other and to those in need. The kingdom of God is matter of service, of an inner disposition of being a selfless gift to others. When we come to Mass, when we pray, when practice the disciplines of penance and virtue – we do so not to build up ourselves but so that Christ may be built up in us and so that we may bring Him to the world. His love in us, that dwells so deeply in our hearts moves us to make that same love known to those around us.

It seems to me that the point of the parable is to show that Christ comes in search for those who have surrendered themselves. His kingship attracts us, it draws us into a better way of being – of being identified with Him. When we pray, when we speak those words, “thy kingdom come” what exactly are we praying for? What do we mean? I think Pope Benedict answers this well for us when he states: “We invoke the kingdom daily in the prayer of the ‘Our Father’ with the words ‘Thy kingdom come’; in effect we say to Jesus: Lord, make us yours, live in us, gather together a scattered and suffering humanity, so that in you all may be subjected to the Father of mercy and love.”

We are praying that we be more closely identified with Christ; that He be made visible in us… that the kingdom of God be lived and breathed by our service to God and neighbor.


Fr. Jon Reardon

Rev. Jonathan L. Reardon is a priest for the diocese of Springfield in Massachusetts.
He serves at Sacred Heart Parish in Pittsfield, MA.

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