July 30, 2017
The central theme of Jesus’ preaching was not about himself. He was primarily focused on the theme of the Kingdom of God. The parables that we heard last week (the Wheat and the Weeds, the Mustard Seed, and the Woman and the Yeast) all addressed this theme. So do the parables in this week’s Gospel (the Treasure in the Field, the Pearl of Great Price, and the Net Cast Into the Sea). What exactly is this Kingdom of God that Jesus is speaking of?
Jesus was not a dogmatic theologian who dealt in carefully crafted doctrinal statements. He was a preacher who used a multitude of images and stories to paint a picture, which allows for great openness in interpretation but is somewhat frustrating for those who want clear definitions. This is especially true in terms of the Kingdom of God.
The Kingdom of God, or the Kingdom of Heaven, or the Reign of God, exists whenever and wherever God is King. Heaven is the Kingdom of God, for everything in Heaven operates according to God’s will and purpose. The Garden of Eden, before the Fall, was the Kingdom of God, for it too operated according to God’s will and purpose. Because of the Fall, and subsequent sin and rebellion by human beings, this world fell under the rule of Satan, who Jesus calls the “prince of this world.” When the Devil told Jesus that all nations belonged to him and he could give them to whomever he wished, this was true.
Jesus proclaimed that he had come to restore the Kingdom of God. He would do battle with the Prince of this world and defeat him. “The Kingdom is at hand.” You can reach out and touch it; it is here, in Jesus himself. “The Kingdom is within.” When we surrender our lives to Christ, making him our King and our Lord, we come to know the peace and blessings of the Kingdom within our hearts. “Thy Kingdom come.” Jesus taught us to pray for the Kingdom to come in the Lord’s Prayer. The Kingdom is here and not yet. It is present now in seed form (hence the parables concerning the seed), but these seeds will eventually bear fruit and become the fullness of the Kingdom, when Jesus comes at the end of time.
— Fr. Mike Comer