In the parables we’ve heard these past weeks, he uses “like” six times! The kingdom of heaven is like:
- A man who sowed good seed in his field
- A Mustard seed
- A treasure buried in a field
- A merchant searching for fine pearls
- A net thrown into the sea
But those are just descriptions...or similes. They don’t really define what the kingdom heaven is: only what it is like. It is like something small that brings with it incredible growth, like yeast or a mustard seed. It is like a buried treasure or a really fine pearl that is priceless, and everything else is of secondary value. It is like good seed sown in a field growing up with weeds or like a net thrown into the sea, which collects fish of every kind, but ultimately there will be a time of separation, a day of judgment.
We never find a clear definition of the kingdom of heaven anywhere in Scripture; however, what we do find are examples of people who live kingdom-of-heaven values. For example, Solomon asked for the wisdom to be a good and just ruler rather than for wealth, fame, long life, or victory over his enemies.
Characteristic of the kingdom of heaven are the values that Jesus taught and lived and that others put into practice following Jesus, just as we do today.
I suspect that the kingdom of heaven is not so much a physical place but rather a spiritual state where relationships have the highest priority and are governed by wisdom, justice, love, and mercy.
If we live like that, we already live in the kingdom of heaven!
~Fr. Sas, July 27Homily
17th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year A