The kingdom of heaven

– Wednesday of the 17th Week in Ordinary Time –

“The kingdom of heaven is like …” [Matthew 13:44]

It’s interesting how we imagine heaven! We speak of ‘going to heaven’ as if it’s a place where we are hoping to live after we die. We speak of being reunited with loved ones, not having to worry about earthly realities such as lack of resources, illness, stressful relationships, the list goes on. However, when we reflect on the gospels, and today’s gospel in particular, we are invited into a very different way of thinking.

Early in Mathew’s Gospel, John the Baptist bursts on the scene calling any who would listen to “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near” (Mt 3:1). The heavens have been torn open; Emmanuel, God-is-with-us, has entered our darkness, not to teach us about the kingdom, but rather to make this kingdom of heaven a reality in the here and now!

Today’s two parables in Matthew 13:44-46 give us a glimpse of this reality. If we really desire the treasure of the kingdom we must be prepared to give all to buy the field and then we must work to dig up this treasure. We must be ready to sell all, so that this fine pearl will be ours.

It’s a call to risk and commitment, but what we will receive is greater than we can ask for or imagine. Possibly very few of us are ready to give all, but if we keep our hearts open to the possibilities that God offers, if we commit ourselves to loosening the grip we have on life, if we desire what truly nurtures our spirit and the spirit of others, then the kingdom of heaven will break through. And we will experience that the reality of God-is-with-us both here and now and into eternity.

by Kari Hatherell

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