11th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Fr. Francis)
I read a quotation something about marriage. The title was: Marriage: Before, during and after. That before marriage: he talks, she listens. During honeymoon: she talks, he listens. After honeymoon: they both talk and the neighbors listen.
Instead of having a progress in their married relationship, it becomes retrogressing.
Today’s gospel has two parables: The Seed growing by itself and Mustard Seed. These parables point to what Kingdom of God is becoming. In other words, how God’s kingdom will grow.
When Jesus said: “…and the seed would sprout and grow…” (v. 27). His message is clear: The Kingdom of God even if it requires our collaboration is first and foremost, a grace and a gift coming from God. It is not primarily a product of human effort.
Fr. Bel San Luis in his column in Manila Bulletin (1994, p. 11) told this story that in the first few months of his Pontificate; it is told that Pope John XXIII beset by a host of problems could not sleep. One night he had an inspiration in the form of a dream: “Pope John,” the voice sounded, “don’t take yourself too seriously. You must remember I am still the head of the Church, not you.” After that dream, his insomnia disappeared.
This does not also mean that we have to be passive spectators. We must cooperate with the grace of God. God works in and through us to make this world already a “little heaven.”
I read this story which I think, could be an example of what I had said a while ago. This story was about a little Grade three boy who got into argument in the schoolyard with some boys from the sixth grade. He drew a line in the dirt and dared them to cross it. The big boys accepted the challenge and crossed over the line because they wanted to see what this perky little third grader boy would do. When they had crossed the line. The third grader smiled and said: “Now you are on my side.”
These parables are about gradual growth of God’s Kingdom which is the center of Christ’s teaching and preaching. If we do God’s will, it becomes already a part of God’s Kingdom.
Based on what I had known from my theological studies and readings about this, this Kingdom of God has different characteristics that we should know and follow, namely: First is the condition for entry. If we want to enter God’s kingdom, there are conditions to follow and to fulfill. The conditions are: we must have conversion and repentance. If we want to be in hell, it is very simple, we will not go through with conversion and repentance. Second is membership which becoming disciples of Jesus Christ who in constant learning at His feet and becoming His true followers and servants. Third is a life of loving service grounded on God’s love for us. Fourth is the basic law which is new life in the Spirit. This law is not legalistic but filial love. Fifth is the charter or the constitution that we should uphold, that is, the Beatitudes (Matt 5:1-12).
What would be our response so that we can cooperate in making God’s kingdom grow in our midst? There are so many ways. Some of them could be: respect for one another, solidarity with everybody especially the poor, fidelity to God and to one another and many more.
Now, can we say that God’s kingdom has already begun to grow especially in our own self? Are we practicing already love, compassion, forgiveness and reconciliation with one another? Can we accept ourselves of who we are in front of God? As a modern-day disciple of Christ, do you help others grow in faith? If our answer is yes, then we are not far from the Kingdom of God. God is already near to us.
Fr. A. Francis HGN