July 25, 1999

Matthew 13:31-33, 44-52

Jesus put before them additional stories: "The kingdom of heaven is like what happens when a farmer plants a mustard seed in a field. Although it is the smallest of all seeds, grows larger than any garden plant and becomes a tree. Birds even come and nest on its branches."

"The kingdom of heaven is like what happens when a woman mixes a little yeast into three big batches of flour. Finally, all the dough rises.

"The kingdom of heaven is like what happens when someone finds treasure hidden in a field and buries it again. A person like that is happy and goes and sells everything in order to buy that pearl.

"Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls; on finding one pearl of great value, he went and sold all that he had and bought it.

"Again, the kingdom of heaven is like what happens when a net is thrown into a lake and catches all kinds of fish. When the net is full, it is dragged to the shore, and the fishermen sit down to separate the fish. They keep the good ones, but throw the bad ones away. That's how it will be at the end of time. Angels will come and separate the evil people from the ones who have done right. Then those evil people will be thrown into a flaming furnace, where they will cry and grit their teeth in pain."

Jesus asked his disciples if they understood all these things. They said, "Yes, we do."

So he told them, "Every student of the Scriptures who becomes a disciple in the kingdom of heaven is like someone who brings out new and old treasures from the storeroom."


1. We pray, "Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven." Imagery of the "kingdom of heaven" is important. One of the images here is that of fecundity -- prodigal growth -- there is so much more coming from the investment we make in life.

2. Have we understood this? Not really! even though we say we do. This imagery breaks us through to a place we have not been before. How can we understand that which we have not yet experienced? We can hope for it; yearn for it. But understand it?

3. These are images of resurrection and the movement of the spirit. We have a storeroom and we only know how to take from it the old, not the new. The new comes as gift and surprise. Yes, it is present, but beyond our understanding. When we come to see we see it was always available, but before that it seems as if it is but a fanciful dream. May we dream fancy and soon come to understand the kingdom of heaven is already on earth, we need but act it out.

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