The Third Luminous Mystery: The Proclamation of the Kingdom
The following is the final of twenty monthly reflections about the Mysteries of the Rosary as they relate to family life. The mysteries will not be necessarily chronological but presented as they interact with the liturgical year.This month’s Rosary mystery, The Proclamation of the Kingdom, is a bit obscure because it does not have an image of an event readily attached to it. I suppose we could conjure a scene in our minds of Jesus teaching his followers, but that is about it. What we are left to do is think of many images that represent the coming of God’s Kingdom that is both underway here on earth and something we hope for in heaven. Of course, with this week containing Thanksgiving, I thought of the picture of the many preparations that are underway in homes across the country as another sort of coming is on the horizon: the coming of family.
Cleaning the house, putting out the best dishes, preparing special foods, and a variety of other activities fill this week. All of it is geared toward a happy and successful gathering, but as many of us know, all the preparation does little to help if some kind of rift or tension exists within the family. Those sorts of problems take much more work over a prolonged period of time for wounds to heal.
Preparing for the coming of the kingdom requires an extended effort as well. We often speak about it as an “already but not yet” reality, and what we mean is that certain elements of the kingdom were established on earth in Jesus’ lifetime and exist with us still, but other elements still have to be brought forth in each generation. We are part of both a legacy and a future, and we have the opportunity to help the kingdom grow or diminish in influence on earth by how we live.
This month, we have already celebrated All Saints’ Day and prayed for our beloved dead on All Souls’ Day. Our common and often our personal pasts are filled with exemplary people who have made the kingdom alive and well in our lives. We strive to be part of this legacy of faith, passing on the Good News to the next generation and helping each other to prepare for what is to come.
We know all too well, though, that each of us has some area in our lives that could be better prepared for the kingdom’s coming. Perhaps a damaged relationship, a bad habit, or a nagging grudge keep us from being fully ready. While we are in this life, we still have a chance to seek and offer forgiveness, to show greater charity, and to give better witness to what we believe to be true in our hearts. As we hear about the end times in the readings at the end of our liturgical year, we have another reminder about the opportunity in front of us. Perhaps even during this holiday season, we can take some important steps with our loved ones. May we seize this moment to do so, preparing our hearts for the moment when we are fully taken up into the Kingdom of God!