The Kingdom Of God, Homily

Homily, June 13-14, 2015: Cycle B, The Kingdom of God

What is the Kingdom of God? That term, appears more than one hundred times in the New Testament.

We know the Kingdom is not of this world, meaning it’s not a physical Kingdom with geographical boundaries.

Scripture tells us no one can see the Kingdom of God unless they are born again. And, no one can enter the Kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit.

Jesus’ Kingdom is a spiritual kingdom where He reigns in the hearts of us, His subjects. It’s mobile; it’s fluid; it moves as we move.

In our Gospel today from Mark, Jesus uses two parables describing the Kingdom of God.

In the first, He tells about a man scattering seed on the land. He says after sowing, the man goes about his business as the seed sprouts and grows on it’s own.

It is as if He is making the point that after the sowing, the man is essentially through with his part until it is time to harvest. He doesn’t have to dig up the seeds periodically to check on their progress.

In the second, He tells about the small mustard seed that grows into a large plant, again, without any help other than the initial sowing of the seed.

If we accept the reality that the seed is the Word of God; those who sow the seed are God’s servants; the soil it falls on are human hearts; then we begin to understand His point…

…That the seed, the Word of God, once sown, takes root and grows in our hearts all on it’s own.

That is one lesson of evangelism. The Word of God is efficacious. It is alive and it will grow quite well.

Sometimes when we think of evangelism we think we have to worry people to death with it. We think we have to be able to answer all their questions and be ready to go into detail. We act as if we have to take total responsibility for their lives.

However, we don’t. Our job is to plant.

If we truly embrace that point, all of us would be more willing to evangelize. We tend to make it so complicated because we don’t feel qualified. We fear “messing’ up.

I saw an exaggeration of this ‘sowing only’ concept up close and personal in my own life when I was younger. Right after transferring to Brunswick long ago, I went through a few years where I was not happy with my own relationship with the Lord, even though I was very active in the Church.

My relationship seemed to be ineffectual. My prayer life was mostly petitions or I was telling God how to run the world. If you had asked me, what I thought the Lord was saying to me I would have looked at you as if you had lost your mind. I didn’t know, but I wanted to know.

At least, I wanted a semblance of a two-way relationship, a general sense. I was ready for that. Remember the old adage, “When the student is ready, the teacher will appear?”

In my case, there were two men working in the Research Lab with me and I kept over hearing them talking to one another about their relationship with the Lord and it sounded a lot like what I wanted myself. So, I approached them with that thought.

Their response at first was a little tepid, but several days later, they came back and said this. “WE agree to put a scripture verse on a scrap of paper every morning on your desk, IF you will agree to take it home and read it seriously looking for ways to put it into action in your life. The next day, you will find another verse on your desk. And, we won’t have to talk about this again.”

I agreed, but asked for how long. They said, “Until you tell us to stop.” I said, “Can I come to you if I have questions.” Their answer was, “No, take your questions to your pastor.” Their role was strictly SOWING.

This went on for eight months. Every day a verse. On Friday’s they left me three to get through the weekend. Let me tell you, the Word of God brings life. Something was cooking in me. After eight months I was about to explode.

The results were an improvement in my relationship with the Lord. The main change was that I gained a much greater appreciation for my own Catholic Faith. I saw it in a different light. I was impressed with the diversity and richness of Catholicism because of all the questions I asked my pastor, Father Bill, about the Scripture.

Well, if a verse a day can have that kind of impact, we should be asking ourselves, “Why am I not reading it once a day.” And, “What are some other ways that I can sow the Word of God.”

From a quote often attributed incorrectly to St Francis of Assisi we hear, “Preach the Gospel at all times. Use words if necessary.” This is obviously a reference to inculcating the word of God into our actions; or “Practicing what we preach”; or, perhaps, “Our actions speak louder than words.”

More people sign up for RCIA because of watching the actions of others close to them. They see something they like, and want it for themselves.

We all need ‘Food for the journey of life’. We have the Eucharist. We have the Word of God. We have one another. But today, this is a call to reading a little scripture every day and trying to put it into practice. You never know who may be watching and learning from your good example.

Whether we feel like it or not, as Christians we are Christ bearers. It is almost as if the Lord is saying to us, “Wherever you go, there I am.”

That is an awesome opportunity, an awesome responsibility.

+May Almighty God fill us with the truth of His word and the strength to live it to the fullest.