As we journey through Lent, we hear the stories of some of the refugees that JRS accompanies. Where can you hear God’s Kingdom breaking through in their stories?
Koffi has been accompanied by the JRS Day Centre for the last couple of years, since his asylum claim was denied. Koffi is now seen by the government as a ‘failed asylum seeker’ and is no longer entitled to government support. Like others struggling with the complexity of Home Office processes, Koffi now relies on the goodwill of friends and family already in the UK and on the work of charities. “The system so complex. It is like right and left. If the Home Office is left, charity is the right; there to help us keep going.”
Koffi was planning to undergo surgery in early 2017 but his unstable living arrangements could have made his recovery more difficult. Through our At Home hosting scheme we were able to find a place for Koffi that would be ready for after his surgery; giving him the space to fully recover.
Today we invite you to take some time to sit with today’s readings, to join Frank Turner SJ in prayer and reflection:
Jesus prays to God his Father, ‘your kingdom come’. In Luke’s version of this prayer, Jesus continues, ’Give us each day our daily bread’. Matthew, though, adds to ‘your kingdom come’ an explanatory clause: ‘your will be done on earth as it is in heaven’. We do pray for God’s will to be done in heaven: heaven is precisely the state or place in which God’s will is fully done. We do (and must) pray for God’s will to be done on earth. Our prayer implies two beliefs: that we are not asking the impossible: second, that God’s Reign, is not attainable through our own efforts or our own supposed goodness: still less that it comes as the maximising of our own satisfactions. It comes as the gift of God, which Jesus makes present as practice for others, as giving his life.
Jesus’s mission and his ruling passion is the ingress of the reign of God. In fact, this petition ‘Thy kingdom come’ is not known before Jesus. The Kingdom of God is present now, and will finally come in its fullness. ‘When?’, we want to ask, since our need for love, peace and justice is urgent. Jesus will never say when, though even when he faced death, he trusted that the Kingdom of God was breaking in (Mark 14: 25).
Further, we do not ask for something, then simply wait to see if God will or won’t grant it. If we pray ‘Thy kingdom come’ and ‘Thy will be done’, our deepened desire for God’s will to be done in us is already part of the grace we seek. Our deeper conversion is itself part of God’s Kingdom coming into the world.