1st Sunday of Lent

1st Sunday of Lent – Tucson – 2020
2nd Petition of the Our Father
“Adveniat regnum tuum” / Thy Kingdom Come
In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.
Continuing our sermon series on the Petitions of the Our Father, today we gaze upon on the 2nd Petition as we say : “Thy Kingdom come [on earth as it is in heaven]”. This 2nd petition is of particular interest to us in the Institute of Christ the King, because as He is King, our specific aim is to spread His reign in all spheres of human life.  This 2nd petition at the beginning of the Our Father is in perfect continuity with the preaching of St. John the Baptist and Our Lord.  St. John the Baptist preached from the desert: “Do penance, for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand.”  It is with the “Kingdom of Heaven” that our preaching is directed.  And following Our Lord’s 40 day fast in the desert, we read: “From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say: “Do penance, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”  Jesus even identified this preaching as His mission from the Father: “To other cities also I must preach the Kingdom of heaven: therefore I am sent.” This mission was also confided by Our Lord to His Apostles of His living and after His Resurrection.
So great is this petition that Our Lord also said: “Seek first the kingdom of God and His justice, and all these things shall be added unto you.” This command is a perfect resumee for us to preserve our spiritual life. [pause] If a king is worthy of the name, he is solicitous about the safety, well-being, peace and prosperity of his people both collectively and individually.  How much more so, is the King of Kings, solicitous for our safety, our well-being, our peace and prosperity in our present pilgrimage?  Did Christ not say: “…and all these things shall be added unto you.”  If we seek first the “kingdom of God and His justice,” God will generously fulfill His promise.
First, what do we mean by the words, the “kingdom of God” – They signify the power that God possesses over all men, all His power over the entire universe, and “also His providence, by which He rules and governs all things.”  Nothing is hidden from His power and nothing resists His providence.  
The first meaning of the words the “kingdom of God” is the Kingdom of Grace by which our loving Father has first and preeminent place among His creatures, the just, the souls of the pious and holy men and women.  The Holy Scriptures declare: “The Lord ruleth me, and I shall want nothing,” & “The Lord is our King: He will save us.” 
How do we participate in this “kingdom of God” here and now?  The Catechism of the Council of Trent declares that the Lord “reigns” in us by the interior virtues of faith, hope, and charity.  God is so transcendent, that only by the supernatural virtues of faith, hope, and charity are we able to participate in His heavenly kingdom.  But this transcendent and heavenly kingdom is made close to us by these theological virtues because Christ reigns in us to offer God fitting worship and veneration.  By these virtues of faith, hope, and charity in us, Christ can say: “The kingdom of God is within you.”  Truly by these virtues there is an indwelling of the Trinity in us.  Sanctifying Grace is a created gift in which we participate already in the life that is to come.  Like when we receive Holy Communion, grace is a pledge of our future glory with God in heaven.  This Kingdom of Grace, that we participate in here below is how we live in the Kingdom of God here and now. 
Though the just souls are the closest to our heavenly King, nevertheless, Our Lord declared to Pilate “that His kingdom was not of this world, that is to say, has not at all its origin in this world, which was both created and is doomed to perish.”  And so we turn to the 2nd meaning of the “kingdom of God” the Kingdom of Glory. This is the “Kingdom of God” that will be participated in by those in Heaven.  It was this kingdom that the good thief asked of from Our Lord: “Lord, remember me when thou shalt come into thy kingdom.”  And Our Lord speaks of the kingdom of glory in many parables such as the Parable of the Good Seed and the Cockle or the Parable of the Master and the Laborers who went out to his vineyard at different hours and rendered to the good their just reward and the end of the day symbolizing the end of their life: their eternal reward being their entrance into the “Kingdom of God in Heaven”, the Kingdom of Glory.
Now let us turn to 3 objects that petition God when we say: “Thy kingdom come.”
First and mostly, the Catechism of the Council of Trent states that our chief object is that “the Kingdom of Christ, which is the Church, may be extended that infidels and Jews may turn to the faith in Christ the Lord, and to the acceptance of the knowledge of the true God; that schismatics and heretics may return to soundness, and to the communion of the Church of God, from which they have deserted.”  
Our second object in this petition is that all crimes and offences be ejected from the Kingdom of God.  When announcing the coming Messiah, St. John announced Our Lord bringing a baptism of the Holy Ghost and fire, but also these words which may be unfamiliar to us: [the Messiah’s] fan is at hand, “and He will thoroughly cleanse His floor and gather His wheat into the barn; but the chaff He will burn with unquenchable fire.”  The Kingdom of God is so perfect that He has to banish all imperfections and all sins.  There are some in the Church that profess Christ by their words but deny Him by their deeds.  Thus we pray that they be “illumined by the rays of the divine light, [that] they may be restored to their former dignity of children of God; that all heresy and schism being removed, and all offences and causes of crimes being ejected from His kingdom, the heavenly Father may cleanse the floor of the Church, and that worshipping God in piety and holiness, she may enjoy undisturbed and tranquil peace.”  
Our third object in the petition “Thy Kingdom come” is that God alone may reign in us and that we’ll be perfectly under His dominion.
It sounds so easy to make this 2nd petition, but Our Lord says: “Not every one that saith to me, Lord, Lord shall enter the kingdom of heaven…”  The five foolish virgins also pleaded: “Lord, Lord open to us” but they were excluded.  So how should we properly make this 2nd petition of the Our Father?  It should come as no surprise that the answer is penance, humility, and charity.
A – For the penance required to enter the Kingdom of God, Our Lord says: “the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent bear it away.”  The Kingdom of Heaven requires that we do “violence” to our sinful inclinations.  Following Original Sin, and our concupiscence to illicit pleasures and pleasures beyond measure, we must mortify and resist our perverse inclinations.  St. John the Baptist inaugurated the coming of Christ by saying: “Do penance for the Kingdom of God is at hand!” And more recently, the Angel of Peace of Fatima said: “Penance, penance, penance.”  Penance is the punishment by which we atone for sins, in which we attempt with sorrow to make a sacrifice to God in doing our best to undo what should never have been done.  
B - For humility to enter the Kingdom of God, Our Lord gives us countless examples.  To those who trusted in themselves as just, Our Lord gave the parable of the Pharisee and the Publican.  It was the publican who went back from the temple justified as Christ confirms: “every one that exalteth himself, shall be humbled: and he that humbleth himself, shall be exalted.”  And a few verses later when the disciples rebuked those who brought infants to Christ, He said: “Suffer children to come to me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God.  Amen, I say to you: Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a child, shall not enter into it.”  This humility, the childlike dependence on God, is our entrance into His kingdom.   And in humility, attributing all to God, we remember that we have been adopted children of God by our baptism, and as children we can call God: Abba/Father, and as children, thus heirs to His kingdom.
C – “Not every one that saith to me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven: but he that doth the will of my Father who is in heaven, he shall enter into the kingdom of heaven.” “If you love Me, keep my commandments.”  Thus, charity is the third key for our entrance in and remaining in the Kingdom of God.  
My dear faithful, today we pray first for the spreading of the Kingdom of Christ, that is the Catholic Church, to all men so that they have faith in Christ; secondly we pray that all crimes and sins be rejected from those members of the Church, and thirdly we pray that God alone will reign in us and that we’ll be completely under His dominion.  May the Kingdom of Grace abound in us through the virtues of faith, hope, and charity.  May we be found worthy to enter the Kingdom of Glory.  And finally, may we pray this petition with the spirit of penance, with humility, and with charity so that Our heavenly King will say to us after our death: “Come my faithful servant, and enter the joy of Thy Master.”
In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.