Daily Reflection
of Creighton University's Online Ministries
July 28th, 2010

Tom Bannantine, S.J.

School of Nursing
Click here for a photo of and information on this writer.

Wednesday of the Seventeenth Week in Ordinary Time
[403] Jeremiah 15:10, 16-21
Psalm 59:2-3, 4, 10-11, 17, 18
Matthew 13:44-46

In today's short gospel reading the subject is the Kingdom of heaven.  As I thought about this gospel I was reminded of the teacher in a Catholic elementary school.  This teacher put the following question to one of her second grade boys. 
          "Why do you want to go to heaven?"

The boy replied, "Because God lives there."  That boy was very wise.  He understood the main reason why we should desire to enter the Kingdom of Heaven. 

Here Jesus does not describe heaven.  He knows that the idea of heaven is a difficult one for human beings to grasp.  The difficulty is that the people have no frame of reference.  Heaven is not like anything here on earth.  So Jesus tries to help the disciples to understand heaven by giving them earthly examples to which they can relate.  We know that when the predictions of the coming messiah were first made, many of the people of Israel misunderstood.  They thought of an earthly kingdom and of the messiah as an earthly king.  That was still true of many of the people to whom Jesus preached.  Jesus desires to counter that perception and help his listeners to learn that the Kingdom of heaven is not of this world. 

The disciples of Jesus are his students.  He spent the time of his public life here on earth teaching the people.   He is teaching them many things.  One of the lessons is the true meaning of the Kingdom of heaven.  It is probably the most important lesson that Jesus taught.  But because it was a difficult lesson to understand, Jesus had to explain very carefully and patiently.  And he had to keep on repeating his teaching so that it would sink in and be really understood by his listeners.

Today countless numbers of people throughout the world aspire to the Kingdom of heaven.  The words of Jesus in today's gospel and in other places in the gospel as well as our faith help us to focus our desire for the kingdom.  Like the disciples to whom Jesus spoke, none of us has any personal experience of heaven.  We do know that our moments of greatest happiness here on earth are finite.  They last only for a certain period of time.  We desire the great happiness of the Kingdom of heaven which will never end. 

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