Sunday July 30
Seventeenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
The kingdom of heaven

Today’s Gospel proclamation gives us some of the parables Jesus used to explain the “kingdom of heaven”. A kingdom needs a king. Living under the lordship of Jesus Christ is living in the kingdom of heaven. Some of the characteristics of this kingdom are: inner peace even in the midst of turmoil, experience of love that makes one feel secure and joy that comes from within even in the midst of loss, pain and crisis. Let us examine our hearts and see if this is true to us. If not we need to find our way back into the kingdom. Even if we are experiencing peace, love and joy at this moment, we need to hold onto it, as even trivial matters may make us lose it.

Jesus says that the kingdom of heaven is hidden and it has to be found. This is the reason that many Christians are unable to grasp the importance of spiritual exercises. An invitation to a social event is accepted gladly, whereas an invitation to a spiritual program is rejected and may even be ridiculed. This is the blindness to the kingdom of heaven.

Baptism and remaining in the Holy Spirit opens the kingdom to us. We cannot serve two masters. One could be a slave to money, desires and addictions or live under the lordship of Christ. What we think about mostly and what captures our mind is our master and idol. Jesus says the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant searching for fine pearls. We cannot find the kingdom by leading mediocre lives. Falling at the feet of Jesus in repentance at every fall is the path to trod. Jesus is clear, that sacrifice is necessary to be in the kingdom. As we journey, we may detect through life experiences, the areas in our lives that are not under the lordship of Christ. Prayer, repentance and surrender brings us back to the kingdom. The sacrament of reconciliation will fill us with the Holy Spirit.

Jesus tells about a net that is let down into the lake. People of different races from all the world are baptised as Christians. They are in the net that was let down. But it is clear that not all will receive eternal life as there is a judgement. Although the Church has given us the opportunity to enter the kingdom through the sacrament of baptism, we have our free will to decide whether we want to continue on that path or not. Today let us pray for those who are blind to the kingdom of heaven, that God in his mercy will make a way for them to rediscover the path and return home.

Prayer: Abba Father, fill us with the Holy Spirit and give us the grace to seek your kingdom. Amen.

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