2 Cor 5:6-10, Mark 4:26-34
Where is the Kingdom of God, and how do we see it? These are two questions that come from the Gospel this weekend. In the first Chapter of Mark’s Gospel after Jesus is Baptized by John and before he calls the first disciples, he says “This is the time of fulfillment. The kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel.” (Mark 1:15) In Luke’s Gospel when the Pharisees ask him about the Kingdom he responds, “The Kingdom of God is within you.” (Lune 17:21) Saint Paul wrote in several of his letters, we are citizens of Heaven. The Catechism tells us; “The Kingdom of heaven was inaugurated on earth by Christ.” (CCC 567) And goes on to quote a passage from the Vatican II document, the Dogmatic Constitution of the Church; ”This kingdom shone out before men in the word, in the works, and in the presence of Christ.” (LG 5) Simply put, the Kingdom of Heaven is here, and we are citizens of Heaven.
Jesus gives us a lesson on how the Kingdom of Heaven takes root in in the world and in our lives. He speaks of the seed, the blade, the ear and the full grain, and tells us about the small mustard seed growing into a large plant. This is an important lesson or us because we live at a time when in which we have become accustomed to everything being fast, if not instantaneous. From fast food to instant communication get what we desire immediately. This is not how God works with us when it comes to the presence of His Kingdom in our lives. Occasionally we hear of someone who had an immediate conversion, but for most of us conversion and growth take a lifetime. Like the plants and the seed in the Gospel it must be cared for, cultivated and tended as it grows. At times we can easily become discouraged when we don’t hear the booming voice, see dramatic acts, or receive an immediate response to prayer. We might find ourselves asking, “Where is God?”, or even, “Is there a God?” Jesus tells us clearly by his presence and with teachings like this that, yes, there is a God, and He is in our midst. He usually moves so gently, quietly and subtly that we don’t notice his presence, but he is with us. It was not long ago, on the Second Sunday of Easter, that we heard Jesus say to Thomas “You believe because you have seen, blessed are those who have not seen, and believe.” We are those who are blessed because we do not see, but we believe. While we might not see the concrete presence of God, we are blessed with the faith to believe in his presence.
Saint Paul speaks of this in the Second Corinthians where he wrote, “we walk by faith, not by sight.” Christ is truly present to us in the Most Blessed Sacrament, Christ Is present in the Sacraments, Christ is present when we hear the Scriptures read and the Gospels proclaimed. Christ is also present whenever two or three gather in his name, when we see the Corporal and Spiritual works of mercy being done by ourselves or others. It takes Faith to see Christ in all of these, but He is there, and with him is His Kingdom. In order to see the kingdom we need patience and we need faith. With these we can enjoy the kingdom knowing that it continues to grow within us and the world, and we recognize Christ and his Kingdom in the prayers and works done in his name. May we claim our citizenship in God’s Kingdom and allow his Kingdom to shine forth from us.
Father Killian Loch, O.S.B.