One of the criminals, who was hanged beside Jesus, asked Him “Jesus, remember me when you enter into your Kingdom”, to which Jesus replied, “Truly I tell you, today you shall be with me in paradise”. The wish of the criminal is to reach the Kingdom of Heaven and to see Jesus face to face and encounter him.
Yes, dear friends in Jesus Christ, today we are living in a postmodern culture which can be characterized as fast and instant culture. We can go anywhere in the world at any time with expense. Our life is full of shortcuts. To go to JDV classes we take shortcuts, to go to refectory we take shortcuts. We look for shortcuts always to make our task easier.
What about kingdom of heaven?
Is there a shortcut to kingdom of heaven?
Dear friends in Jesus Christ,
In today’s gospel passage, Jesus gives a key to know what the kingdom of heaven really is. And the ways through which we can reach the Kingdom of Heaven.
There are three analogies he puts forth before us.
In the first analogy, Jesus says the Kingdom of Heaven is like a person who sows seeds, ploughs the ground and waits for the crop. Two important characters of the New Testament could help us to understand this idea better. One is Peter and the other is Judas Iscariot. Both were called and chosen by Jesus as his disciples. Both have attended to the teachings and parables of Jesus. Both had an intimate familiarity with Jesus. Finally, both have betrayed Jesus Christ. Peter denied Jesus cruelly and Judas handed him over to the Roman soldiers brutally. But, it is Peter who waited for the forgiveness of Jesus. And so, he was blessed and made one of the great pillars of the Catholic Church. Instead, Judas repented but could not wait for the forgiveness of Jesus. But Kingdom of Heaven is like a person who not only sows the seeds but one who ploughs the field and waits for the result patiently like Peter.
In the second analogy, Jesus compares the Kingdom of Heaven with a seed which falls into earth and dies and further becomes a tree which provides shade for all those come to it. In the Old Testament we see two seeds which were sown by God himself, namely King Saul and King David. Both were called, chosen and anointed by Prophet Samuel in the name of the Yahweh. Both were the great warriors and the protectors of Israelites. But, as we all know, Saul was jealous of David and was not happy with him. At the same time, David also sinned by cheating his own soldier Uriah and committed adultery with Uriah’s wife. Both have sinned against the Lord. But it is David who confessed and cried to Prophet Nathan saying, “I have sinned against the Lord”. Here, David is like a seed that died to itself and so he emerged as the greatest leader of Israelites and became a rescue for many.
In the third analogy Jesus compares the Kingdom of Heaven is like the yeast that transforms the normal flour into cooking flour. Here, when yeast is added to the flour, it makes a lot of difference and transforms it into useful flour. In the Bible, we see the example of St. Paul who works like the yeast, whenever he goes into a new community, he goes into their culture, adapts it, shares the love of Christ with them and further transforms the whole community. Even in the Old Testament we see such examples of servants of God who worked like yeast. For example, in the book of Daniel 2:7, we see king Nebuchadnezzar, a foreign god worshipper, professing Yahweh as the God of Gods, Lord of Kings and revealer of mysteries. He was so fascinated by the intuitive power of Daniel and through him he praised our God. Exactly, this is what St. Ignatius of Loyola says, “Whatever you do, do it for the glory of the God”. By seeing our deeds they should be able to praise our Lord. We also see Joseph in the book of Genesis, who worked like the yeast, though he did not transform them, he made a difference in the foreign country. Even in the Catholic Church history, there were many missionaries who shed their blood. But there were also many priests and religious who remained as scandals.
In brief, as I mentioned in the beginning of the homily, in today’s gospel, Jesus is not giving any key to reach the Kingdom of Heaven but he is revealing the fact to all of us that the Kingdom of Heaven is the heritage of all, the Kingdom of Heaven is in each one of us. Our only duty is to be aware of that fact. As I have already said, Peter and Judas both were called by Jesus, but, one was cursed and the other was blessed. It is not Jesus who decided their fate. King Saul and King David, both were anointed the Lord, but one was perished and the other was flourished. It is not the Lord who wrote their destiny. It is we who have to create and recreate the Kingdom of Heaven in our hearts in our day to day life, because as Jesus says the Kingdom of Heaven lies within each one of us.
And so, the Kingdom of Heaven is not place to reach or a homily to preach but a life to be lived. God bless us all.
– Bro. John Sudhakar