REFLECTION: The reign of God is like a treasure hidden in a field

Bishop Thomas Gumbletonby Bishop Thomas Gumbleton
Pax Christi USA Teacher of Peace

As we listen to today’s Scriptures, in order to reflect carefully and get the deepest meaning out of them, we must remind ourselves again how this part of Matthew’s Gospel fits in with what has gone before. At the very beginning of the public life of Jesus, it’s recorded this way in Mark’s Gospel: Jesus begins his public preaching by proclaiming, “The reign of God is at hand. Change your lives.” The reign of God is at hand. Reign to bring forth, come into our human history, transform our world into as close an image of that reign of God as possible. It’s here; it’s ready to break forth.

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And perhaps we have to remind ourselves, “Well, what do we mean by the reign of God?” Sometimes, especially in Matthew’s Gospel, it’s called the kingdom of heaven. “The kingdom of heaven is at hand.” But that makes us think of a place, maybe makes us think of heaven as the afterlife. But that’s not what Jesus is speaking of.

It’s better to remember from Luke’s Gospel how Jesus, there at the beginning of his public life and his first sermon at the synagogue in Nazareth, he proclaims the words of Isaiah: “The reign, or the spirit of God, is upon me. God sends me to proclaim good news to the poor, heal the broken-hearted, give the blind new sight, break the bonds of those who are persecuted and proclaim God’s year of favor — the jubilee year.” Jesus is proclaiming a time when all of creation — all of human life, every human person — will come under the dynamic power of God’s love…

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