Coming attractions at our week-end Masses: For the next three week-ends, we will hear three “parables of the Kingdom” from Matthew 13; then on 6 August, the Feast of the Transfiguration; then the following week, the story of Jesus walking on the water. All of this material is highly significant not only within the New Testament and early Christianity, but through the centuries, and in the life of the Church. My task will be to take each lesson as it comes, and seek to help make it meaningful for our parishioners. We will try to understand the LORD’s teaching together. It is not easily understandable, because Christ is leading us into the mystery of God; or rather, into a life well lived in tension toward the unknown God whom he calls “my Father.” As I have often done, we must move towards a true understanding dialectically: that is, warding off misunderstandings, and using misinterpretations to help us arrive at a deeper or better grasp of what Christ is telling us here and now. One learns to discern the truth by seeing and breaking from error. This process is never-ending, because our minds are limited, our understanding always fallible. The search for the truth of God is always greater than, and encompasses, any results one discovers along the way. If one is not seeking, wondering, exploring, then one is stagnating.
There is nothing stagnant about the “Kingdom of God.” This symbolic phrase, used by Jesus to speak about the reality and ways of God in our lives, is dynamic, creative, freeing, challenging, demanding, consoling, guiding. It is, among other things, a way to speak about God’s providential care for his creatures, for us. God’s way of doing things is not identical with our ways. Whereas human beings gravitate to the powerful, the famous, the wealthy, God’s way is to seek out the lost, the lowly, the humble, those rejected by fellow human beings. Whereas we human beings seek status, wealth, or power, the Kingdom of God—God’s way of acting—is life-giving, affirming, able to “tear down the mighty and lift up the lowly.” (Are you lowly enough to be reached by God?).
God’s way brings judgment only to bring peace, to heal, never to condemn and lock up in a hell of human imagination.