In the past two weeks, we have heard the parables of the kingdom of God likened to a sower, and today we hear other examples. The kingdom of God is not an end by itself, but rather the process, or means. It’s how we live our every day. When we pray the Lord’s Prayer, we say; “Thy kingdom come.” Meaning whatever is happening in heaven is to happen here on earth.
A priest had just celebrated Mass for the basketball team at a Chicago high school, before they participated in the state tournament. During the homily, the priest said that ten years from now the important thing about their basketball season will not be whether or not they became state champs. The important thing will be what they became in the process of trying to win the title.
Did they become better human beings? Did they become more loving? Did they become more loyal to one another? Did they become more committed? Did they grow as a team and as individuals?
After the Mass, the coach called the players and said he was so bothered by what the priest said: “I wonder what I have helped you become in the process of trying to put together a winning season.” He repeated all the questions the priest posed. He continued saying; “If you did, then regardless of what we do in the state tournament, we are a success. If you did not, then we have failed God, we have failed our school, and we have failed one another.”
Just as we have heard in today’s gospel of the parables of the treasure buried in the field, merchant, and net: Nothing in the world may take priority over God’s kingdom and our pursuit of it. The gospel tells us that what counts when we die is not what we have acquired in life, but what we have become.
As we reflect on that, let us ask ourselves these questions: Have we learned to love one another? Have we learned to forgive one another? Have we learned to help the needy? Have we learned to encourage the fainthearted? Have we learned to walk an extra mile? Have we learned to turn the other cheek? And have we learned to become more committed and loyal to God and one another? Let our prayer be that of Solomon who asked for wisdom to discern what is right from wrong, and to understand our calling as Christians. Let the life we are living today, be a reflection of life to come.
Sincerely yours in Christ,
Fr. Peter Patrick