During this special Year of the Word: The God Who Speaks, we are going to have a regular series of reflections published on our website which will prompt us to reflect on important passages of St Matthew’s Gospel, and learn more about them. We are very grateful to Dr Natalie Watson, a contemporary theologian and writer, for offering these reflections for our community.
One of the main themes in Matthew’s Gospel is the kingdom of God. But what is God’s kingdom? The kingdom God is building is different from any form of power we know. In the Beatitudes earlier in Matthew’s Gospel we read about those who will be at the heart of God’s new world: the poor in spirit, the meek, the peacemakers, those who hunger and thirst for righteousness; in other words, those people who are often the least regarded in the world as we experience it.
As he does frequently in Matthew’s Gospel, Jesus uses parables to teach the disciples what God’s kingdom is like. Jesus uses images and stories that would have been familiar to his readers to invite them to imagine what the God’s kingdom is about. The word ‘like’ is crucial here. Unlike the kingdoms of this world, the God’s kingdom cannot be pinned down; we cannot say it is here and not there. But Jesus’s parables will help us to know it when we see it.
We will know it when we see it like we would know the joy of someone who finds a treasure in a field, digs it up and sells it. Or like the merchant who deals in fine pearls and one day finds the most precious, most beautiful pearl, the one he or she has always been looking for, the one that is worth selling the entire business for. If we follow Jesus, we will know God’s kingdom when we see it. Jesus calls us to seek his kingdom and to invest everything we have and everything we are to build it; and he promises those who follow him here on earth that we will live with him forever.
God, your kingdom come. By our prayers and in our lives bring in your kingdom.