The opening line of our Gospel today provides an essential description of the Christian message for us – if only we could receive it and live it. “Do not be afraid, little flock, for it has pleased the Father to give you the Kingdom.” So often we live caught up in a false notion that God is constantly keeping track in some imagined heavenly ledger of all our activities. We imagine that there is a credit side and a debit side to the ledger, and our objective is to do enough positive things to make up for the areas of sin and addiction in our lives. If, at the end of our lives, there are more positive than negative deeds, then God will begrudgingly allow us into heaven. Yet, nothing could be further from the truth of what Jesus tells us himself in the Gospel today.
Do not be afraid – why? Because – and this is a case where the Jerusalem bible translation gets it exactly correct – it has already pleased the Father to give us the kingdom. Many English translations render this verse either in the present tense, or in a future tense – of what the Lord will give us at some point in the future. But no – to geek out – the Greek word is in the aorist tense, indicating that this is something that had already fully and completely happened. Because of the perfect sacrifice that Jesus offered on the Cross and through his resurrection, everything that was needed to be done has been done.
God is not only faithful to this – but he is also abundant. If we can actually trust his word this begins to change everything! We are no longer caught up in a relationship with a stingy, begrudging God. We can be generous, because we get that all we have has been given to us by God. It is all gift – all grace. So of course, we can share what we have, we can give alms, we can freely love and share with all those that the Lord places in our lives. What freedom this gives to us.
But wait there is more! “For where your treasure is, there also will your heart be…”
Recorded at St Paul’s, 10am (8’14”)
Sunday 19, Year C. Luke 12:32-46