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The Kingdom of God is like...
Gospel Reflection for August 23rd, 2023
Greetings, the readings for today’s Gospel can be found here:
We find today in the Gospel message what can be an obscure phrase for many “the Kingdom of Heaven…” What does Jesus in the Gospel of Matthew mean when He uses this phrase and in Mark and Luke’s version, “The Kingdom of God?” I suppose for many of us what is at the heart of this question(s) is simple: What is heaven like? How do we get there?
In the beginning of Matthew’s gospel, and with the other Synoptic Gospels, Jesus refers to “the kingdom,” being at hand when he begins His ministry. The proclamation is prefaced by what is needed because the kingdom is now at hand—Repent! So, the opening message of Jesus’ earthly ministry is a kingdom has emerged and because of it there is now a call to repentance.
So, again, what is meant by “The Kingdom?” So, when Jesus declares with His Sermon on the Mount, “…theirs is the Kingdom of God…” To what is Jesus referring? Of course, naturally, Jesus gives an explanation through various parables and imagery later in Matthew’s gospel like today, but they can still be obscure to contemporary readers. Pope Benedict XVI explains in his excellent volume I of his Jesus of Nazareth series, “The announcement of God’s lordship is, like Jesus’ entire message, founded on the Old Testament…we see that it leads directly to Jesus himself.”
In some ways, the proclamation of the kingdom is a divine claim. It is Jesus asserting that in His person, the incarnation of the 2nd person of the blessed Trinity, is the LORD coming to call His sheep back to the sheepfold—back to His divine friendship. And what gives us great hope is that the Kingdom, Jesus Himself, is a movement toward us. The parable illustrates that no matter whether we responded early in the morning or later in the day—grace is given to all who repent and turn toward our Lord Jesus.
 Mk 1:15, Mt 3:2, 4:17
 Pope Benedict XVI, Jesus of Nazareth: (The Crown Publishing Group. Kindle Edition), 56.
 Ezekiel 34. I encourage readers to compare Ezekiel 34 with John 10.