Matthew 10: 5-7
Jesus sent out these Twelve after instructing them thus, “Do not go into pagan territory or enter a Samaritan town. Go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. As you go, make this proclamation: ‘The Kingdom of heaven is at hand.’”
Greetings to all! When I heard this Gospel reading at Mass yesterday the words, “The Kingdom of Heaven is at hand” reverberated in my head, over and over. I kept hearing these words echoing down deep into the recesses of my shattered heart. The image that came to my mind was a picture that Ali had taken where she placed the “famous” red rhinestone heart pin that someone had given her in Cate’s little hand. We did not put any pictures on the internet of Cate from when she was in the CVICU because we did not want people to remember her in that condition, but this one I will share with you all and I have added it to the profile picture on the blog.
This image of a rhinestone heart in my dying daughter’s little hand connected to the scripture quote, “The Kingdom of heaven is at hand.” Sounds kind of odd, but just hear me out. For many of us, including myself, sometimes “Heaven” seems like such a far away place, especially when someone we love has gone there or we are in a very difficult time in our lives where we feel like we have just had enough with this dumb old world. Yet, I love Jesus’ words to us, “The Kingdom of Heaven is at hand.” It is “at hand”, I know that this may be a stretch of what Jesus was saying, but the Kingdom of Heaven can be revealed to our world in a simple way, by the work of our hands. Whether it is extending a hand in forgiveness, extending a hand in peace, extending a hand in aid to the less fortunate, or the feel of a hand on someone’s back as you embrace them in love. Stop just for minute and think about instances in your own life where a hand was extended to you to bring peace, comfort and the hope of Heaven to you. It is a small gesture that has the ability to bring such powerful emotions, powerful strength, and powerful healing. It is a moment where I truly believe that the Kingdom of Heaven is, “at hand.”
Although Cate never extended a physical hand to any of us, she extended a very powerful spiritual hand and her life brought about the Kingdom of Heaven in a very powerful way. A way in which it showed all of us that Heaven, is not a far away place, that Heaven in not up in the clouds, but in fact that Heaven is all around us. This is exactly what Christ accomplished, in His suffering, death, and resurrection. In that through His life, death, and resurrection the chasm that original sin had made between Heaven and earth was filled, and that we, all of humanity, once again had the opportunity to taste, to feel, and to experience Heaven, in the here and now. We can now experience Heaven, in our Churches, in our cars, in our living rooms, in parks, in hospitals, or even sitting in front of our computer reading some silly little Cajun’s blog. Where ever we have had a hand extended to us in love, there is the Kingdom of Heaven. God used His little vessel, Baby Cate to extend that hand to all of us, to bring us faith, healing, peace, comfort, forgiveness, hope and with these a glimpse of what is to come in the fullness of Heaven.
“The Kingdom of Heaven is at hand,” and that hand is at the end of our arm. So, as we go through our lives today, let us be reminded that we can bring a taste of Heaven into people’s lives. Whether it is the check out person at the grocery store, our next door neighbor, the attendant at the gas station, or maybe it is our parents, our spouses, our even our children. We will always remember the little heart-filled hand that was extended to each one of us through Cate. A little heart-filled hand that brought all of us, each in our own way, the Kingdom of Heaven. May we in turn go into the world and make the Kingdom of Heaven, truly be “at hand.” We love you all very much and ask that you continue to pray for our family during this difficult time. Also, we still have some prayer cards from Baby Cate’s Funeral and if anyone would like one just send Ali and I your name and address to firstname.lastname@example.org and we will be happy to put one in the mail to you. As Ali and I sat stuffing envelopes with prayer cards last night I told her, “I guess we are kind of like the Presidents of Baby Cate’s Fan Club.”:)
Much Love, The Cantrells