Seek First the Kingdom of God
Fr. Luke A. Veronis
“What is life all about?” the man asked me as he watched his 41 year old brother die. “How do I understand what is happening? What lesson am I supposed to learn from all of this? Tell me, please, what is life all about?”
What a direct and fundamental question to ask when confronted by one of life’s unexplainable mysteries. We watch a young person die from cancer, or witness some other tragedy, and it shakes up our worldview. And thus, we ask “What is life all about?”
Unfortunately, too many people live such hectic and preoccupied lives that we don’t seem to find time to dwell on such fundamental questions. Or maybe it is not only our busyness, but it is the superficial spirit of our age that we allow to dominate our thinking. We simply don’t make the time to think about the essential questions of life. “Why are we here on earth? What is our purpose in life? What is the meaning of life? Whether we live to a ripe old age of 99, or more than likely face death at a much younger age, what will be the ultimate purpose and meaning of our lives during this brief sojourn on planet earth?”
These were some of the most basic questions that philosophers and seekers of truth and wisdom have asked throughout human history. Actually, world religions developed out of this quest for answers to life’s most essential questions.
What is life all about? Why am I here? How do I understand life when life itself is cut so short by illness or some other tragedy? What is life’s purpose? What happens after we die?
Well, our Lord Jesus indirectly addresses this issue in today’s Gospel reading. Christ deals with this critical question of life by directing us to the only thing that is eternal and everlasting – the Kingdom of God. “Seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness.” Seek above all else the Kingdom of God and His righteousness!
The answer to life’s most fundamental question is God! Life is all about seeking union with our Creator. Life is all about the divine love of His Kingdom and living under His reign. The meaning of our brief existence on earth only makes sense, eternal sense, when we place it in the context of God’s life and divine plan for us.
When we look at a 41 year old life that ends abruptly, of course our worldview will be shaken, and we should ask the question about the meaning of life. It all just doesn’t make sense. What is the purpose of life if our earthly pursuits don’t last in eternity?
Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness!
Today, our Lord calls His followers to leave behind the superficiality of the world – all that the world values in its fame and fortune, in its pride and arrogance, in its earthly lusts and power. What significance and lasting value will all of these worldly desires have in the light of eternity?
It’s interesting how we humans operate. Too many of us won’t take the time to seriously seek out answers to life’s most important questions, but we will spend plenty of time seeking after the fleeting pleasures and passions of the world, pursuing what it temporal and worldly. Why is it that we don’t make the time to pursue what is eternal and of greatest significance?
Jesus Christ reminds us once again this week about what is most fundamental and basic in life. Seek above all else the Kingdom of God and His righteousness! And what is the kingdom of God other than living under the reign of God, living under the rule of God, living in the presence of God. Seeking first the Kingdom of God means to cultivate in our lives, above all else, the eternal virtues of God – love, mercy, compassion, forgiveness, humility, simplicity, generosity. Seeking first the Kingdom of God means to live life like Jesus lived it, bringing God’s peace and grace upon all people.
Seeking first the kingdom of God means seeking out and developing, above everything else, a relationship with Jesus Christ – a face-to-face encounter and an intimate relationship and deep friendship with our Lord Jesus Christ!
How many of us today can sincerely say that we are seeking this type of living, dynamic, life-giving relationship with God above all else in our lives? Before our families, before our children, before our work, before our pursuit for entertainment and pleasure, before and above everything else, are we seeking to know God in the depths of our souls? I’m not talking about knowing God in some simple intellectual or mechanical way, but to know and understand and believe in God in the depths of our heart! To know God in such an intimate way that His commandments and teachings guide and govern every aspect of our lives! Above all else, are we seeking to enter into His kingdom and dwell under His reign here and now?
“What is life all about?” the man asked me as he watched his 41 year old brother die. Well, when we pursue the Kingdom of God and live under our Lord’s reign, we realize that life isn’t about how long we live, it is about how we live. And whether we live to be 99 or 79 or 59 or 29, it really doesn’t matter. By pursuing and entering God’s kingdom here and now, we are entering into an eternal kingdom that has no end. Our time on earth is simply a brief introduction to the masterpiece that awaits us for all eternity!
Seek first the kingdom of God!