Wednesday, August 3, 2011

The Kingdom of God

Of all the various ways we describe God, none is more central to our belief than God is love, Divine Love. God is the energy of love realized in the world and in us. Faith leads us to recognize the handiwork of God. God’s love is still creating and demonstrates how we are to love. We have been created from this energy by which we recognize His creation. Thus we are destined to become the children of the Triune God as God guides this world to its ultimate fulfillment. Because we are partners in creation we retain the freedom by we can either participate in His creative acts or reject them. In either case, all is ordained for our salvation.
So what has this to do with the Kingdom of God? Christ stands at the heart of this creation, this creative moment. Jesus calls all people to come together around Him: “and I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to Myself.” (John 12:32) No one is to be left out. However, our freedom to accept or reject this invitation prompted this parable: "A sower went out to sow. And as he sowed, some seed fell on the path, and birds came and ate it up. Some fell on rocky ground, where it had little soil. It sprang up at once because the soil was not deep, and when the sun rose it was scorched, and it withered for lack of roots. Some seed fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked it. But some seed fell on rich soil, and produced fruit, a hundred or sixty or thirtyfold.” (Matt 13:3-8) In other words: The seed sown on the path is the one who hears the word of the kingdom without understanding it, and the evil one comes and steals away what was sown in his heart. The seed sown on rocky ground is the one who hears the word and receives it at once with joy. But he has no root and lasts only for a time. When some tribulation or persecution comes because of the word, he immediately falls away. The seed sown among thorns is the one who hears the word, but then worldly anxiety and the lure of riches choke the word and it bears no fruit. But the seed sown on rich soil is the one who hears the word and understands it, who indeed bears fruit and yields a hundred or sixty or thirtyfold." (Matt 13:19-23) The Kingdom maybe for all of us yet: “Many are invited, but few are chosen." (Matt 22:14)
Thus it is that we are called to participate in this Kingdom in a very hands-on way. Even though faith is a very personal act, it is not done alone. We also share in the life of the Church, a community of faith that includes a centuries-long procession of fellow believers. The Church forms us in faith through Scripture and Tradition; passing on in story, ritual and symbol the essence of our faith. Ultimately we become the People of God standing with one another in His Kingdom.

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