jesus was not egotistical. he did not walk the earth and mandate his followers, “worship me!”
jesus’ mission was to proclaim the kingdom-reign of God. and jesus’ main tool to proclaim it was through parables. ironically, parables are intended to teach through confusion not clarity (mt 13: 13-15). unlike our desire for facts to enlighten us to what is true, the parables of jesus will always stay fresh and keep us pondering in new ways. the parables act as a means to never be too comfortable in thinking we know the mind of God and how God is present in our world. living in the kingdom-reign of God is our mission too.
one of my favorite quotes about the kingdom of God is from st. paul: “… the kingdom of God is not a matter of food and drink, but of justice, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit (romans 14-17).
our response to the kingdom-reign of God is to have a change of heart and to believe in the Good News (mark 1: 15). indeed, in jesus words and actions, we can see the kingdom-reign in our midst. when jesus healed people from their various infirmities, we experience God’s kingdom-reign. when jesus feeds the hungry, we experience God’s kingdom-reign. when jesus welcomes those who are outcast, we experience God’s kingdom-reign.
God’s will is intimately tied to this God’s kingdom-reign. God wants us to live, cooperate and participate with God’s loving presence in our world. this is the way of love. but we need a change of heart often because of your human weakness and sin.
part of the good news is that the kingdom-reign does not depend on us– it is the work of the Lord. the strength of the parables is that it will refresh our blinded eyes and closed ears. in turn, our hearts are changed. these are the moments that grace invades our lives. when we realize this grace, it moves us to thanksgiving.
today’s gospel is from mark 4: 26-34
Jesus said to the crowds:
“This is how it is with the kingdom of God;
it is as if a man were to scatter seed on the land
and would sleep and rise night and day
and through it all the seed would sprout and grow,
he knows not how.
Of its own accord the land yields fruit,
first the blade, then the ear, then the full grain in the ear.
And when the grain is ripe, he wields the sickle at once,
for the harvest has come.”
“To what shall we compare the kingdom of God,
or what parable can we use for it?
It is like a mustard seed that, when it is sown in the ground,
is the smallest of all the seeds on the earth.
But once it is sown, it springs up and becomes the largest of plants
and puts forth large branches,
so that the birds of the sky can dwell in its shade.”
With many such parables
he spoke the word to them as they were able to understand it.
Without parables he did not speak to them,
but to his own disciples he explained everything in private.
the kingdom-reign of God will grow on its own accord. it will start small but eventually bigger than we can imagine. this a flow of love and it does not depend on us– it depends on God. love will grow until its culmination in being one with God: God all in all.
perhaps questions are a most appropriate response today.
in light of the ongoing flow of the kingdom-reign, where does my heart need change or healing? do i really believe in God’s love–without condition– for me and the world? how do i see God’s reign in my everyday life and faith? how do i deepen my understanding of jesus’ examples of love from the gospels to those i encounter? how do i understand God’s desire for me to live in this kingdom-reign? what actions of mine need to change in order to be better aligned with the kingdom-reign? what gifts of mine contribute to this growing reign among us?
the older i get, the more i think i understand this kingdom-reign but at times i realize how woefully inadequate i am to participate– all the more to teach– about this loving presence of God. so i am thankful for God’s mercy which is another aspect of God’s reign. also, i am very grateful that it is really God’s action and not mine that makes it all happen.
let us pray
“…Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done…”
WOW!!!! That was really great! “Let us pray daily in our offerings to Christ to participate in God’s reign”
By showing enthusiasm in every given opportunity for HIS WILL. I ask for clarification and opportunities to increase daily. .
May God Bless Your Day,
We’ll talk more!