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Hope and the Kingdom of God

First Reading: Romans 8:18-25

Brothers and sisters:
I consider that the sufferings of this present time are as nothing
compared with the glory to be revealed for us.
For creation awaits with eager expectation
the revelation of the children of God;
for creation was made subject to futility,
not of its own accord but because of the one who subjected it,
in hope that creation itself
would be set free from slavery to corruption
and share in the glorious freedom of the children of God.
We know that all creation is groaning in labor pains even until now;
and not only that, but we ourselves,
who have the firstfruits of the Spirit,
we also groan within ourselves
as we wait for adoption, the redemption of our bodies.
For in hope we were saved.
Now hope that sees for itself is not hope.
For who hopes for what one sees?
But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait with endurance.

Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 126: 1B-2AB, 2CD-3, 4-5, 6

R. (3a) The Lord has done marvels for us.
When the LORD brought back the captives of Zion,
we were like men dreaming.
Then our mouth was filled with laughter,
and our tongue with rejoicing.
R. The Lord has done marvels for us.
Then they said among the nations,
“The LORD has done great things for them.”
The LORD has done great things for us;
we are glad indeed.
R. The Lord has done marvels for us.
Restore our fortunes, O LORD,
like the torrents in the southern desert.
Those that sow in tears
shall reap rejoicing.
R. The Lord has done marvels for us.
Although they go forth weeping,
carrying the seed to be sown,
They shall come back rejoicing,
carrying their sheaves.
R. The Lord has done marvels for us.

Gospel: Luke 13:18-21

Jesus said, “What is the Kingdom of God like?
To what can I compare it?
It is like a mustard seed that a man took and planted in the garden.
When it was fully grown, it became a large bush
and the birds of the sky dwelt in its branches.”
Again he said, “To what shall I compare the Kingdom of God?
It is like yeast that a woman took
and mixed in with three measures of wheat flour
until the whole batch of dough was leavened.”

NAB

oct 27

Hope. It’s a tricky thing, isn’t it? In the seasons of our lives that it’s truly present, we rarely even notice. Yet in the times when we need it most, it often feels impossible to lay hold of. But as Christians, even in our darkest hour when we don’t have the consolation of “feeling” hope, we can still know it’s there. Saint Paul reminds us that we can look to creation as a reflection of our own longing: we, like the earth itself, groan and quake within ourselves. We were all created to witness the redemption of the world, and we will never feel fully satisfied until we do. Yet in the meantime we must “wait with endurance,” which is to hope.

I love that this Gospel reading was paired with the one from Romans. I see my own life in it; do you not see yours? Planting a little seed in a garden, mixing a spoonful of yeast into dough: it’s ridiculously mundane stuff Jesus is talking about here. It’s exactly the kind of thing you and I do every single day. It’s the unglamorous, the easily overlooked, the minutiae of life that Jesus brings our attention to. This is where He says we will find the Kingdom of God.

But what does this have to do with hope? Well, everything. By depositing the Kingdom of God in the everyday, Jesus is ensuring that we’ll be able to find it. Certainly we hope for big things: some hope for the salvation of friends and family, some hope for their prolonged suffering to come to an end, most hope for a world with righteous government. But the way we know we can hope for those big things is by seeing His faithfulness in the smaller ones. When we offer Him our tiny efforts (our seed and our yeast) and He multiplies them so that they become fruitful acts of love, we have hope that the Kingdom of God truly is among us.

Take a moment to write down the area in which you are most desperate for hope. Now write down the small ways that you are seeing Jesus meet you throughout a regular day. Let yourself feel renewed hope by recognizing the ways Christ is already working in your life.

Shannon Evans is a Protestant missionary turned Catholic convert who lived to tell the tale. An adoptive and biological mom of two boys, she enjoys hosing mud off children, scrubbing sticky furniture, and rushing to the ER to have nails extracted from small intestines. You can find out more about her here.

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