Luke 13: 18-21 The Kingdom of God
What is the Kingdom of God like? It is similar to a tiny mustard seed that grew and became a large bush “and the birds of the sky dwelt in its branches.”
We do not know how to love. Let me make myself clearer: YOU do not know how to love. If you and I did, we would never be in the predicament that we are in today. I would not allow my heart or mind to be consumed with lustful thoughts, material things, addictive drugs and/or alcohol. I would not be abusive to myself and to others. I would prefer a path, a love that leads to peace and happiness, joy and fulfillment, love and unity. You name it. If love is so great, then why are we having such a hard time with it? Answer: We do not know how to love.
What makes the mustard seed grow? The soil. That is, soil that is soft, nurturing and friendly to the seed. The seed, in response to so much care, is prepared to, willing to and ready to open itself up to and for the world.
What makes the Kingdom of God grow? Love. That is, Christ’s love. His immense, unconditional, personal (and universal), self-giving love for me, for us, for all of us! For this, I am more than ready, prepared, and willing to give myself up to others and for others. Christ taught us how to love. “There is no greater love than this: To lay down your life for another.” Or better, “if the kernel does not fall to the ground and die, it will never produce any fruit.” The fruit is the Kingdom of God. The kernel is Christ. The kernel is also me.
For this reason, I think I am being honest when I say, “You do not know how to love.” And even now, you still do not know how to love. Love is more than a desire, a feeling, a commitment or a conversation. Love is action. It is a response. Love goes well beyond sex, candles, scents, clothes and a fancy dinner. The Lord loves me, what will I do? How will I love my spouse, my children, my boss, my friends, my neighbors and my enemies?
Recently, I asked my 8th grade class the difference between love and lust. They had a hard time with it. If anything, they got closer to explaining what lust is but they were clueless as to what love is. I gave them my rule of thumb. Love is giving the other what is good. Lust wants the “goods” from the other. It seemed to click with them because they all were busy writing it down! The greatest evidence of love is never giving up! True love begins when the love of the other ends. If I love only those who love me, what credit is there in that? (cf. Lk 6:32)
In the past 60 years, our “progressive” society has handled life’s complexities by reducing them to the bare bones. Our textbooks are a great indicator of this: “The American Revolution in one Chapter!” Life is complex and not just in biological terms. For life to exist, billions and billions of things had to happen and at the right time. Life and love go together. We cannot reduce either. A reductionist mentality is preferred today so that we can fit it all into our technological innovations, daily schedules and under 60 seconds. But by doing so, we reduce human life to nothing, nihilism. We fall short. We settle for less. But we continue to desire MORE!!!
Let us ask the Lord God to love our wives, our husbands, our children, and all those around us, like the Lord loves us, his bride, his Church. Now go ahead and read Ephesians 5:21-33. It should make sense to all of us, and may we never be scandalized by the word of God.