Homily – 11th Sunday Ordinary Time

One of the more prominent expressions and focuses within the gospel of Mark is the Kingdom of God. You might remember at the very beginning of Mark’s gospel, after he says he’s going to tell the story of Jesus, the Son of God. The first words that Jesus utters, is repent and believe. The kingdom of God is at hand.

And we might ask the question, then what is the kingdom of God? We hear it referenced on many different occasions, but for most of us it remains somewhat of a mystery. One has to look at the gospel to see what is the kingdom of God. And what one sees is that Jesus is the one who is ushering in the kingdom of God.

But he does that through actions and the actions that he engages in are actions of healing and actions of reconciliation. Actions literally of taking what has gone awry and making it proper and orderly. And he does that because the kingdom of God really refers back to the very beginning of creation. God did not design a disordered world where people take advantage and do violence to one another, but God designed a world of harmony, a world of friendship, a world where the creatures us human beings had a positive relationship.

Or perhaps more appropriately, God had a very prosperous and supportive relationship shape with us. Remember the scene? Yeah. God would come in the cool of the afternoon to walk with his creatures. The creatures we turned away from God. But God never turned away from us. And so the work of Jesus in bringing about the kingdom is restoring that harmony, that harmony between us and God, and that harmony is restored in the person of Jesus, who draws us into himself and then sends us forth as God’s new creations.

Who are the extension of Jesus continuing to carry out the work of the Kingdom and the work of the Kingdom is to continue to be involved in the healing of this broken world in which we live. The healing of us as individuals, as well as the larger communities in which we live. There was a very interesting event on Friday of this past week.

You might have caught it, although it got unfortunately very little attention in the media here, at least in our country. And that was the fact that the G7, which is one of the most powerful groups in the world, it is the leadership of the economically developed nations. We’re meeting in a whole year in the south of Italy. And to the amazement of everyone, they offered an invitation to Pope Francis to come and address the G7.

Unheard of. Matter of fact, in history, the first pope to ever be invited to address that group. And he went there and he spoke about the topic they asked him to speak about was artificial intelligence. And one looked and said, an 87 year old man, coming and talking to the leaders of the world about artificial intelligence. But he was brilliant.

He was brilliant because he was able to put it in the context of the kingdom of God and the work that we have to do, and he did it in such a very unique way. He said, you know, this is a great invention. It has morals in what it will be capable of doing. But we must always remember.

It is a tool that we have created and it is a tool that we will have to use responsibly in service of people.

And he saw in his sense, with the attention. But I’m sure the questioning that was also going on in their minds because if you follow it at all, any of the conversations that have been going on about air or artificial intelligence, you would know that people are talking about it, of how it’s going to take over, take over our world, how it will eliminate jobs because the artificial intelligence will be able to do things that are beyond us.

And the Holy Father, his response was, remember, it’s a tool. And unfortunately, our history. Is that we don’t make good use of tools. Because we don’t remember the tools are a gift to God to be used in the service of the human person. And so as we listen to the scriptures, I think what the kingdom of God is saying to us is get your focus straight.

the kingdom of God is not built on the tools. The tools can help build the kingdom of God, but only if you have the right ethic. and that ethic, is that the tool should be used for the advancement of the human person and the advancement of the human community. If we do that, this tool will open doors in great fields.

We already see it being used in medicine and how much advancement is happening in medicine, but we also see that it’s being used in medicine for the purpose of enhancing the medical industry and not being used to bring greater health to the world at large, especially to those in the poorest of areas. And so, again, the Kingdom of God.

God puts the tools in our hands, and God is asking, please, please make good use of the tools not to tear down, but to build up.