Thy Kingdom Come, Thy Will Be Done


Is it possible to speak like a Christian but live like an atheist? In the demands and distractions of daily life, is it possible to live much of our day with little thought for God?
We may start or end our day with prayer, we might give thanks at meals and assert that we believe in God, but still, it can be easy to live life as if we are in charge. Too often our thoughts of God arise only when we are in need or distress.
The Gospel demands more. At the outset of His ministry, Jesus announces that the Reign of God has drawn near. More than once he counsels His disciples on the urgency of their decision to entrust themselves to God’s will. His ministry provokes the need for a response. The response demanded is of total surrender, trust and transformation. For this reason, the Lord accompanied the announcement of the Kingdom with the summons to repentance. He literally calls us to “turn around,” to change our stance and our perspective.
During this season of grace that is Lent, the Lord Jesus speaks to our hearts, calling us to focus on the Reign of God. He longs for us to put aside distractions and see Him in our hearts, in our lives and in those around us. He teaches us to pray “Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done,” reminding us to place God at the center.
For this focusing purpose, the season offers us prayer, fasting and almsgiving. And just as that first proclamation of the Kingdom was accompanied by the summons to repentance, so this season is a time to seek the grace of a good confession.
For some of us, the sacrament is a regular habit. For many of us, it is a source of anxiety. Indeed, it can be difficult to acknowledge the darkness in our hearts and even more difficult to say this aloud to another human being. We might be tempted to imagine that a loving God needs no more than for us to express contrition in the silence of our own thoughts. While it is true that God can forgive without the sacrament, it is also true that the Gospel demands that we are honest about our need for that forgiveness. From the earliest days of the Church, confession, absolution and penance became the way of living that call to return to the Lord.
As Holy Week draws near, I hope that all of us will seek the blessing of a good confession. Do not worry if it has been a long time or if you are nervous. The priest will help you through the rite. For your part, examine your conscience and be honest with yourself and God about your failures and your need for mercy: “a humbled, contrite heart, O God, you will not spurn!”
It is never too late to return to the Lord. There is no sin greater than His love! Give the Lord your trust and your contrition, then hear that miracle of God’s loving mercy as the priest prays the words of absolution:
“God, the Father of mercies, through the Death and Resurrection of his Son has reconciled the world to himself and poured out the Holy Spirit for the forgiveness of sins; through the ministry of the Church may God grant you pardon and peace.”