St. Svithun menighet
The Kingdom grows all the time
Oppdatert: 2. jul. 2021
Eleventh Sunday in Ordinary Time
All of us have surely studied at school how plants grow. How the seed sprouts and then produces the stalk, then flowers and later fruits. We know that there are scientific explanations for these natural processes and to a certain extent, we understand them.
Nevertheless, this the knowledge we may have of natural sciences, don’t stop us of being amazed by Spring as the one we are experiencing: after de cold weather, the snow, the rain and clouds, plants and trees seem to explode with life that comes from inside and this amazes and excite us.
Two thousand years ago scientific knowledge wasn’t developed as nowadays, but women and men dazzled and were surprised observing changes in plants and nature as we do, and even more. Today, Jesus invites us to focus our surprise in the changes God makes in mankind’s history. According to the reading of the Gospel we’ve heard today, “We don’t know how”, but the Kingdom grows; all the time. Even while we sleep!!! In this sense, it is good to remember that people of Israel were expected to love God “when they lay down and when they rose”: Jesus, who doesn’t remove this commandment from us, ensures us that God loves us; he builds his kingdom in our midst while we sleep or rise up.
Besides, the Gospel uses a Greek word that is also used nowadays in many languages: automate. We say that something is automatic when it moves by itself. We are surrounded by automatic things: for example, that machine that looked as a big mouse automatically mowed the grass for him. When we use automatic things we feel more comfortable and rested. Perhaps we should have some of these feelings when we know that the Kingdom grows automatically, by itself. We do not make it run neither to put fuel in it nor to guide its action. All this is done by God, who is the Kingdom’s engine, strength and guide because it is His Kingdom, not ours. As we pray in Our Lord’s Prayer: Thy kingdom come.
There is still a question that many of you may be surely wishing to make: then, if the Kingdom belongs to God, He moves and guides it and he is making it present in this world, aren’t we expected to do anything? This is a good question. And each one of us will have to think it over. As usual I say something, not everything, because I can’t say it all.
Let’s take into account that in Jesus’ time many of his country fellows, mainly Pharisees and some scribes as well, thought that the Kingdom of God relied on their good behavior and on their faithfulness to the Law. Their image of God, perhaps, was like that of an angry father who can’t count on most of his children anymore and that hasn’t nothing else to do than end with this mean world. They felt as if saving this world was only in their hands, they felt they were the faithful son who brings forward the coming of the Kingdom of God. There was some or a lot of pride in their position, but it was a pride that became fatigue: they felt that they had to assume the world’s salvation and that is very heavy and tiresome.
We know that Jesus not only didn’t think like them, on the contrary he became their most serious adversary. God is not angry. It is possible that we, as many of his children aren’t doing things well. But he is still acting powerfully in this world bringing his Kingdom to it. To be able to be part of his Kingdom our commitment is, first of all, to be amazed and surprised by God’s work. It is on the amazement and joy of knowing with certainty that God is acting that we will be able to build our own place in the Kingdom that God gives us every day.
Fr. Juan Carlos