By on July 26, 2020.
What tKoHiL!—Not Really an Homily for the Seventh/Eighth Sunday after Trinity/Pentecost—with reference to Genesis 29.15-28, Psalm 105.1-5, Romans 8.26-39 and Matthew 13.31-33, 44-52
Here’s what Jesus said the kingdom of heaven is like (tKoHiL) tKoHiL a grain of mustard seed that a man took and sowed in his field (Mt13.31). In other words, it is something that seems small and inconsequential at first but which can grow into something huge which provides a place to roost and shelter to many. tKoHiL leaven that a woman took and hid in three measures of flour, till it was all leavened (Mt13.33). In other words, tKoH has hidden power to energize and make life full and tasty. tKoHiL treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and covered up. Then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field (Mt13.44). And…tKoHiL a merchant in search of fine pearls, who, on finding one pearl of great value, went and sold all that he had and bought it (Mt13.45-46). In other words, tKoH is joy and something precious which once you have found, you don’t want to lose because it is worth more than all you have. tKoHiL a net that was thrown into the sea and gathered fish of every kind. When it was full, men drew it ashore and sat down and sorted the good into containers but threw away the bad. So it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come out and separate the evil from the righteous and throw them into the fiery furnace. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth (Mt13.47-50). In other words, after the first four rather wholesome and encouraging sounding metaphors, things get more disturbing as Jesus tells us that while tKoH is like a big net that has gathered people of every kind, not everybody is bound for glory. One day there will be a reckoning and a sorting and a fiery furnace for the evil and the bad and it will be very unpleasant. So in other other words, tKoH is not just a big leafy, comfortable, commodious tree smelling of fresh baked bread and festooned with treasure and pearls of great price. Some people get to enter tKoH and some people won’t. tKoH is for keeps—a matter of life or death. It gets worse. Jesus also says Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. (Mt7.21)Tax collectors and prostitutes can get in before us (Mt21.31). It is particularly difficult—easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle—than for those who have wealth to get in (Mk10.23), difficult for everybody actually (Mk10.24). So how DO we do the will of the Father in heaven and Is there anything in the other readings about tKoH and how to enter it?Anything in the Genesis 29 Laban, Jacob, Leah and Rachel imbroglio that show us what tKoHiL and how to do the will of the Father? Not that I can see. None of the characters show up very well. It’s more about what tKoH is not like and how God gets things done in spite of us. Psalm 105 is better. Especially the first five verses. TKoHiL giving thanks to the Lord; calling upon his name; making known his deeds among the peoples! Singing to him, singing praises to him; telling of all his wondrous works! And Glorying in his holy name. That would be doing The Father’s will very well. With regards to our Romans passage, tKoHiL having a helper to help us in our weakness. The Holy Spirit who intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words, who searches our hearts and does it all according to God’s perfect will. And tKoH is also like all things working together for good for those who called according to God’s purpose. And also like God being for us and Jesus, himself interceding for us and like being inseparable from the love of Jesus and being tribulation proof, distress proof, persecution, famine, nakedness, danger and sword proof. St Paul was convinced that tKoHiL neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, …is able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Ro8.38-39)…which pretty much covers all the bases. But most of all, tKoH is just like Jesus. There are also a couple of real sermons worth a look for today here and here.
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