lunes, 21 de julio de 2014

Lessons from the Kingdom Parables

Today’s gospel reading from Matthew gives us three parables to ponder upon. However, it may depend upon the Mass presider if he wishes to read all three or the shorter option which only covers the first and longest tale of the three. Nevertheless, it is best to consider all three in the complete version which ends with Jesus explaining why he saw fit to speak in parables.

All three parables point to one and the same thing — the Kingdom of God — except that the focus of each is unique and independent of the others according to commentaries. The parable of the Weeds among the Wheat teaches us forbearance and tolerance until the appointed time for the coming of the Kingdom by allowing the weeds to grow with the wheat or evil to grow with the good. The quadruple mention of the word “gathering”, emphasizes the importance of communal spirit.

On the other hand, the parable of the Mustard Seed that grew from being a tiny seed to a great tree centers on the hidden Kingdom that has flourished into an all-embracing, openly welcoming, universal realm. Lastly, the parable of the Leaven — a tiny germ of such can increase the volume of any baked bread — points to how a little act or movement of faith can suddenly, if not tremendously, affect a community or society.

When Jesus told the last parable, no one had a clue he was talking about himself as the One who brought down to earth God’s Kingdom by his small but significant deeds of kindness from healing and forgiving to just plain loving presence and companionship among the outcasts, acts that shook the Jewish faith system and society. The message about the Kingdom which was then hidden from humanity has come to the surface through Jesus who openly embraced with love all who came his way regardless of gender, race, or social status. And when he did that, the message all the more became clearer that God’s Kingdom, though it dwells completely in Jesus’ person, is for all; for the entire community of peoples and not just for some particularly chosen few.

Given what Jesus had said and done for the sake of the Kingdom, let us now try to ponder: Do we claim the Kingdom of God only for us Catholics? Are we patient and tolerant of other faith? Or have we been at times discriminatory of other faith, disregarding that God; through the Holy Spirit can also touch them in their hearts or via their own faith systems? Whenever evil is present in places and situations we never expect and beyond our control, do we just allow ourselves to be affected by it or do we try to just let it be without agreeing to it or tolerating it or, worse, getting swallowed by it?

Br. Dennis Mercurio

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