Monday August 20, 2018

Cortez: Reflection on the Parables of the Kingdom

IN THIS Sunday’s gospel (Mark 4:26-34) Jesus talks in parables about one of his favorite topics – the kingdom of God. But first, on a personal level, what is meant by kingdom of God? Or more concretely, when can we say that we are in the said kingdom?

To be in the kingdom of God is to live a life yielded to Jesus Christ as King. Jesus becomes supreme in our lives; we begin to think, act and feel according to his good and perfect will for us.

But wait a minute .... Doesn’t that make us slaves? Of course, not. Jesus tells us, “I no longer call you slaves, because a slave does not know what his master is doing. I have called you friends, because I have told you everything I have heard from my Father” (John 15:15).” Isn’t that amazing? Jesus calls us as his friends.

But there is more to that in our relationship with God. St. John writes, “See, how great a love the Father has bestowed on us, that we would be called children of God...” (1 John 3:1). St. Paul says, “So you are no longer a slave but a child, and if a child, then an heir through God” (Galatians 4:7).

Thus, God’s kingdom is based on our recognition and acceptance of the Lordship and Kingship of Christ, but the good news is that Christ, our King, does not treat us as slaves in his kingdom but as friends, and by virtue of this relationship that we have in him, God the Father accepts us as his adopted sons and daughters. And we know what rights sons and daughter have – they are heirs of their father’s property. God our Father is the owner of everything that is visible and invisible – on earth, below the earth, and in heaven – and as his children, we are therefore heirs to everything that is in his kingdom, far beyond what our minds can conceive, what our eyes can see, and what our ears can hear.

That is the grandeur of living in the kingdom of God. In this kingdom, God is sovereign. But even in his omnipotence, God chose to work with us, men. He entrusts to us the responsibility of sowing the seeds of his kingdom. He counts on us to perform conscientiously whatever ministry that is entrusted to us, be it inside the church or in the ordinary affairs of daily life. This ministry can even be our personal testimony in the kind of life we live –a life that mirrors the teachings of Christ and is founded on genuine Christian love.

We scatter the seeds but it is God who makes them grow. He alone could give, sustain and prosper life. The greatest of our achievements can only be made possible with the blessings of God.

Small as our seed may be at the beginning, God can make it grow into the largest of plants. In his eyes, nothing in his kingdom is too small or insignificant, if we only do it in faithfulness and love.