On Earth as in Heaven

THE NOW WORD ON MASS READINGS
for Tuesday of the First Week of Lent, February 24th, 2015

Liturgical texts here

 

PONDER again these words from today’s Gospel:

…thy Kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.

Now listen carefully to the first reading:

So shall my word be that goes forth from my mouth; It shall not return to me void, but shall do my will, achieving the end for which I sent it.

If Jesus gave us this “word” to pray daily to our Heavenly Father, then one must ask whether or not His Kingdom and His Divine Will shall be on earth as it is in heaven? Whether or not this “word” we have been taught to pray will achieve its end… or simply return void? The answer, of course, is that these words of the Lord will indeed accomplish their end and will…

…not return there till they have watered the earth, making it fertile and fruitful, giving seed to the one who sows and bread to the one who eats… (First reading) see also: The Vindication of Wisdom)

From the earliest days of the blossoming Church, from the teachings of those who were followers of the Apostles and their disciples, we learn that the first communities did in fact expect Christ to bring about His Kingdom on earth in a special and more definitive manner. Speaking in highly symbolic language, the Early Church Fathers—those men who were nearest in proximity to the Apostles and among the first to begin developing the Church’s theology—taught for example that:

…a kingdom is promised to us upon the earth, although before heaven, only in another state of existence… —Tertullian (155–240 A.D.), Nicene Church Father; Adversus Marcion, Ante-Nicene Fathers, Henrickson Publishers, 1995, Vol. 3, pp. 342-343)

It would be a kind of “day of rest” for the Church before the end of the world.

…then He shall indeed rest on the seventh day… after giving rest to all things, I will make the beginning of the eighth day, that is, the beginning of another world. —Letter of Barnabas (70-79 A.D.), written by a second century Apostolic Father

A man among us named John, one of Christ’s Apostles, received and foretold that the followers of Christ would dwell in Jerusalem for a thousand years, and that afterwards the universal and, in short, everlasting resurrection and judgment would take place. —St. Justin Martyr, Dialogue with Trypho, Ch. 81, The Fathers of the Church, Christian Heritage

So, the blessing foretold undoubtedly refers to the time of His Kingdom… Those who saw John, the Lord’s disciple, [tell us] that they heard from him how the Lord taught and spoke about these times… —St. Irenaeus of Lyons, Church Father (140–202 A.D.); Adversus Haereses, Irenaeus of Lyons, V.33.3.4, The Fathers of the Church, CIMA Publishing

There were, of course, early sects who distorted these teachings producing what is known today as millenarianism or other modified forms of this heresy. It was the false belief that Christ would return to reign on earth for a literal “thousand years” amidst carnal banquets.

The belief in this coming era of peace and justice has unfortunately been dismissed by all too many theologians and clergy today whose doctrinal development has been limited mostly to scholastic theology highly tainted by rationalism. [1]cf. Returning to Our Center However, thanks to more recent hermeuentics that have encompassed all the various forms of scholarship from the patristic writings to mystical theology, we have a better understanding of Revelation Chapter 20. And that is that, before the end of time, God’s will is indeed going to be done on earth as it is in heaven.

For those who are newer readers, you can read about this coming “period of peace”, as Our Lady of Fatima referred to it, in how the Popes see it:

The Popes and the Dawning Era

How the Early Church Fathers taught it:

How the Era was Lost

What the heresy is and isn’t:

Millenarianism: What it is and isn’t

How it relates to the Triumph of Our Lady:

The Triumph

…and how it prepares for the Return of Jesus at the end of time:

Dear Holy Father… He is Coming!

Pope Benedict anticipated that the years between 2010-2017 would bring us closer to Our Lady’s triumph that was promised at Fatima. In his words:

I said the “triumph” will draw closer. This is equivalent in meaning to our praying for the coming of God’s Kingdom.Light of the World, “A Conversation With Peter Seewald”; p. 166

 

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