While weak humans may want spectacular signs of God at work, most often God’s kingdom is growing in quiet, hidden ways, Pope Francis has said.
“The kingdom of God is silent,” growing like a seed underground, the Pope told the congregation at yesterday’s morning Mass in the Domus Sanctae Marthae where he lives.
“The Holy Spirit makes it grow, (but) with our openness, on the ground that we must prepare,” he said, according to Vatican Radio.
“Think of the perseverance of many Christians who struggle to raise their family, men and women who look after their children, care for the grandparents and arrive at the end of the month with only 50 cents. But they pray. The kingdom of God is there, hidden in that holiness of everyday life.”
Jesus repeatedly tells the disciples that the kingdom of God is not far off, he said. Rather “it’s near. This is one of its characteristics. It’s near our daily lives.”
In the day’s Gospel reading, Lk 17:20-25, the Pharisees ask Jesus when the kingdom of God will come, and Jesus replies, “The coming of the kingdom of God cannot be observed, and no one will announce, ‘Look, here it is,’ or, ‘There it is.’ For behold, the kingdom of God is among you.”
What Jesus is saying, Pope Francis said, is that the kingdom of God is not a spectacle; spectacles usually are “the caricature of the kingdom of God”.
Jesus describes the kingdom of God as a feast, which is different, the Pope said, but too often “our human weakness prefers a spectacle.”
Pope Francis added that too many weddings are an example. Rather than preparing themselves for a sacrament, the couple “arrives for a fashion show, to be seen”.
When God’s kingdom is fully established, the Pope said, Jesus will return in glory, but he tells the Pharisees that “first he must suffer greatly and be rejected.”
Jesus’ words, Francis continued, mean that “suffering, the cross, the daily cross of life — the cross of work, of family, of carrying out tasks well — this little cross is part of the kingdom of God”.
“The kingdom of God is humble like a seed. Humble, but it grows large by the power of the Holy Spirit,” he said. “It is up to us to let it grow” in silence and prayer.