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The Groaning of Creation and the Parables of the Kingdom

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It is providential that today’s Gospel reading on the Parables of the Kingdom (Luke 13:18-21) is matched with Pauls Romans 8:18-25. Normally daily readings follow different courses, unlike the Sunday readings where sometimes the OT reading dictates the theme of the day, sometimes the Gospel. In the daily masses, the lectio cursiva follows different tracks. Today however, the first and gospel readings so jived together that it was easy for me to move from one to the other during the homily.

I must admit that the connection between the reading from Romans and the one from Luke made sense because of an article I read this morning entitle "The Yeast, The Mustard Seed, and the Groaning of Creation.". The parables of the Kingdom refer to two different aspects of the dynamics of the Kingdom of God. The image of the yeast that is kneaded into the dough alludes to the hidden, invisible aspect of the Kingdom. The Kingdom of God, after all, begins working at the level of the heart. It is from there that it grows and expands in gestures of compassion that draws people together. It works from within cultures and societies, and people are its carriers. After some time, it expands, spreads and becomes visible. Finally, it becomes so large that it can even be a home for others. Or rather, others become at home in it and begin to live in it. (If I am right, the mustard shrub spreading its branches for the birds may as well be an allussion to Psalm 84:3, which in its turn, points to the Temple of God as a shelter and a home for all).

From our perspective, we see the Kingdom of God as a happening that is brought about by the action of men and women touched by God working and living so as to create a space in this world where God truly reigns. One can still hear people nowadays praying for strength that we can build the City of God in our world. The right prayer is still "Let your kingdom come" not only because it is the Lord who says it, but because it comes to us as a gift. And Paul alludes to this aspect of the Kingdom as a gift for God’s children and ensured by the presence of the Holy Spirit.

The Holy Spirit was poured into the hearts of men so that men can create a space where God to reign. But the Spirit has been in our world even before the sacrament of baptism was instituted. Gen. 1 speaks of the Spirit hovering over the waters of formlessness and confusion. It was unleashed when the Creator pronounced His Word. It entered into human history in a special way at the moment of the Annunciation, when a lass from Nazareth accepted the Word and gave it her own flesh. Since then the Holy Spirit has been actively at work in the midst of human history so as to bring it to its fulfillment.

The difficulties that we experience now — Katrina, Pakistan’s earthquake, the economic downslide in the Philippines — all these are part of Creation’s groaning. Creation is like a woman in labor waiting for the time when the difficulties will end; waiting for the manifestation of the children of God. The Holy Spirit is like the komadrona helping Lady Creation to give birth. And when the time is ripe, the birthing pains will end and — as John would say — a New Jerusalem will come down from the heavens, and God will be with His people in a way that was not imagined before.

It is a beautiful thought isn’t it? A beautiful vision that consoles and encourages at a time like ours. The Kingdom of God grows in the hearts of men, but it is the Spirit that will be drawing it out and bringing it to realization. "Let your kingdom come" we pray. "Let your kingdom come!"

Originally posted 2005-10-25 21:04:53. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

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