My dear brothers and sisters,
This week is the 11th Sunday of ordinary time. We continue our journey of faith, from Sunday to Sunday, to be nourished by Christ through his Words. The three readings this Sunday present us with a great symbolic meaning of The Kingdom of God.
From the first reading, we reflect on God’s promise through the prophet Ezekiel, 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 and poverty to a kingdom of peace, justice, and prosperity. That’s God’s desire for all - to continue bringing the message of liberation, hope and restoration to the reality in our context. We understand this as the Kingdom of God or the Reign of God.
From the second reading, St Paul reminds us of the fact that we are on a journey towards the kingdom of God where Christ reigns. We are on this journey. In fact, we haven’t really reached the ideal of the Kingdom of God. The journey to this kingdom is a journey which must be approached with faith. Therefore, Paul reminds us: “…Going as we do by faith and not by sight…”.
Therefore, the key word for us is faith: faith in God who is in control of everything. This is the kingdom of God, and therefore, God is working through us as Church community to be the living sign of the Kingdom. In our era nowadays, more than ever, we need to rely on the guidance and the work of the Holy Spirit to make us the visible sign of the Kingdom. Although we know that the Kingdom of God is not the Church but it is the Church’s mission to promote the Kingdom by becoming the witness of it.
Jesus’ parable about a mustard seed in the Gospel reading reminds us of our great dependence on the work of God in the way we build up the Kingdom of God. The focus of the parable is not on the work of the man who planted the seeds. The focus is not on us who try to be a missionary spreading the seed of the Word of God. Even though we do play an important role in building up the Kingdom, however the power of God is the main reason for the Kingdom to grow just like the seed has the power to grow on its own.
Firstly, just as the seed has no power to grow until it’s planted in the ground, we also cannot build up the kingdom of God without relying on the power of the Holy Spirit. In other words, God is the life-source, the one who enables. Therefore, we let the Spirit of God change our hearts as the Kingdom itself primarily happens in people’s hearts. What happens in people’s hearts embodies how we live as witnesses of Christ, how we relate to each other, how we live together in our society.
Secondly, as the seed of the Word of God grows, let it take root in us. When God is present and doing His thing in a manner that we can hardly explain, we can really grow without realising it. We are being developed by God but again if only we would let Him do it. So, it is up to us now to sow this mustard seed in our hearts and let it grow within us into a great tree of the Kingdom.
Hopefully, as we live and move and have our being in God, we continue to rely on God’s grace, who alone makes all things grow, change and bear good fruits to build His kingdom on earth. As we pray in Our Father, “Thy kingdom come,” we know for sure that it will come by His own Spirit.