Seeking The Kingdom Of God With Faith
Readings: 1st: Ezek 17, 22-24; Ps 91; 2nd: 2Cor 5, 6-10; Gos Mk 4: 26-34
This brief reflection was written by Rev. Fr. Njoku Canice Chukwuemeka, C.S.Sp. He is a Catholic Priest and a Member of the Congregation of the Holy Ghost Fathers and Brothers (Spiritans). He is currently working at the Sanctuario del Espiritu Santo, en Dorado, Puerto Rico, del Internacional Grupo Espiritano De Puerto Rico – Republica Dominicana. For more details and comments contact him on: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com.
On this eleventh Sunday of ordinary time, we are reminded of the kingdom of God. Also, we are reminded that the church of Christ is like a tree planted in the world. From the smallest of seed it becomes the noblest of trees and a physical evidence of God’s kingdom which fills the earth. We are therefore encouraged to seek this kingdom with Faith.
The first reading is a message of hope, liberation and restoration. Through the prophet Ezekiel God promised to restore, elevate and establish his people who were in exile in Babylon. This means that God wishes to transform and transfer his people from a kingdom of oppression, poverty and austerity to a kingdom of peace, justice, and prosperity. This is obviously the kingdom where Christ reigns as king over his people and where he is the fountain that supports their life. This is the kingdom where God wishes us to be. The visible sign of this kingdom is the church to which all people come to seek refuge.
In the second reading, Paul reminds us of the fact that we are on a journey towards the kingdom of God where Christ is. This is why irrespective of whether we are living in the body or exiled from it, we should be intent on pleasing the Lord. The journey to this kingdom is a journey which must be approached with faith. Hence Paul reminds us: “…Going as we do by faith and not by sight, we are full of confidence…and actually want to leave this body in order to be with Christ.” In light of this, we need to walk towards this destination diligently so that finally we shall be admitted into this kingdom by Christ.
In the gospel, Christ uses two parables to describe and invite us to the kingdom of God. The kingdom he invites us to is a simple and peaceful one which grows gradually and steadily. It is open to all who seek it with a sincere heart. God owns, controls, and sustains everything within it. The focus of this parable is not on the work of the farmer who planted the seeds, but on the work of the seed, which obtains its growth from a mysterious source and grows so slowly that one can hardly notice it. In this kingdom, God is present and doing His thing in a manner that we can hardly explain. The only thing we need to do is simply to sow a seed of faith in Christ Jesus, and God himself will be in charge of the rest. Only those who have faith and believe in Christ would be admitted into this kingdom.
Hence, in the second parable, the mustard seed which is the smallest seed refers to our faith as a church and, in relation to the kingdom of God. This was why Christ also tells us that: “If you have faith like a grain of mustard seed…nothing will be impossible for you (Mtt 17, 20).” Faith grows and when it does, it achieves great things. As it grows it leads us to Christ and consequently to his kingdom. Also, it opens up rooms for others to come to Christ and, the church his body. This is what Christ means in the parable that: “The birds of the air come to take shelter under its branches.” Hence, when we preach, and witness, the result we achieve is greatly ordinary. For example, a few children may come forward to listen, a youth may present him or herself for a particular sacrament, and a young couple may decide to get married in the church. Also someone may decide to give up a very old bad habit and, another may decide to forgive someone or even ask forgiveness from someone else. These may seem little effort or achievements, but the seed is growing! As our faith grows, the church, the body of Christ grows and, more people are drawn into the comfort of God’s kingdom.
Peace be with you!!