meinrad & hail 022Sunday’s Gospel gave several parables on the Kingdom of God. Today’s readings offer a few more such parables.

Jesus is not only the ‘key’ to understanding the parables, He IS the Kingdom of God, and in Him, we spread that Kingdom here on earth.  As a new day dawns upon this part of God’s good earth, may the Light of Christ ‘break upon us,’ that we may be led by Christ out of our own darkness and be better capable of bringing light and hope to others.

The Kingdom of God is like a treasure buried in a field.  (Matthew 13:44)  Jesus Christ, who though rich became poor, that by his poverty you might become rich.  (2 Corinthians 8:9)  Jesus Christ is the treasure, Who, when discovered, when encountered, enriches every human person.  Even though He is the Son of God, He abandoned His rightful place in heaven to take on our flesh, our human condition, and was ‘sown in the field of the world’ in order to reveal the love of God.  Every human person is created for love; every human person is by nature attracted to Christ.  Thus, when we encounter Christ, we are so attracted to Him that we are willing to give up all other ‘worldly’ goods in order to belong completely to Christ.

This truth is expressed by the following phrase when Matthew completes this teaching of Jesus by saying when a person discovers this treasure: “out of joy [this person] goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.”  (Matthew 13:44)  Notice the joy that comes when we associate our life with Christ, when we allow Christ to take precedence over everything else.  Life is a long journey, a ‘pilgrimage’ once we discover Christ.  This life will continue to have its ups and downs, but as long as we stay focused upon Christ, we will know joy, love, and fulfillment.  When we allow our self to look too much at what we have ‘given up,’ then this life and love and joy will begin to diminish (because we are focusing on ‘self’ rather than Christ; rather than others.)

St. Paul knew this truth regarding the fleeting nature of this world and the eternal glory of our life in Christ.  That is why St. Paul can say: “For this momentary light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to what is seen but to what is unseen; for what is seen is transitory, but what is unseen is eternal.”  (2 Corinthians 4:17-18)

The Kingdom of God is like a net thrown into the sea, which collects fish of every kind.”  (Matthew 13:47)  This parable gives clear indication that God has created everything to be included in His Kingdom.  God’s desire is that all of us grow in holiness, that we all be saved.  (1 Thessalonians 4:3)  We know from the creation accounts of Genesis that God saw His creation as “good.”  It is only by our free will that we choose to distort this goodness, that we fail to live according to God’s will, which is that we love God with all our heart, and love our neighbor as our self.  Even though we all sin, Christ has come as our salvation.  Christ has come to redeem what was lost through sin, and so we see once again the centrality of Christ in God’s Kingdom, and the importance of our freely embracing and believing in Christ.  The evidence that we truly love Christ is our love for our neighbor.

The parables offered for our prayer and consideration today reflect the multiplying effect of Christ living through more and more believers as God’s design for expanding His Kingdom upon the earth.

The Kingdom of God is like a mustard seed that a person took and sowed in a field.  …  It becomes a large bush and the birds of the sky come and dwell in its branches.  (Matthew 13: 31, 32)  With this parable, the Kingdom of God becomes associated not only with Christ, but with Christ’s Church.  We believe that the Church is the Body of Christ.  The Church is made up of many individuals, those who have come to ‘dwell in the branches’ of this Kingdom which God has sown in the world through the Incarnation of Christ.  From the one person of Jesus (that tiny mustard seed), Christ drew to himself the twelve and many others, and they (we) were sent into the world to continue to proclaim the Good News, to continue to give witness (testimony of faith in Jesus Christ) to others.  And as more came to faith, more take up their dwelling in this ‘large bush’ that is God’s Kingdom upon the earth.

The Kingdom of God is like yeast that a woman took and mixed with three measures of wheat flour until the whole batch was leavened.”  (Matthew 13: 33)  This parable is very similar to the one about the mustard seed, but gives clearer evidence to the effect of our faithful witness to Christ in the world.  Our faith is not a matter of private relationship with Jesus, something held selfishly for my own wellbeing.  True, when one comes to friendship with Christ, she or he is greatly enriched.  But this is not sufficient, nor does it reflect the nature of true love (which always generates new life.)  This relationship with Christ compels us to share our faith.  (2 Corinthians 5:14)  This relationship with Christ naturally leads us in love to enrich others, particularly those who are in need.  (Matthew 5: 3-12; 25: 31-40)

May Christ bless each of us this day with His presence, His love and mercy, and may we be the same blessing to others.  Thus, the Kingdom of God shall grow!