The Kingdom of Heaven is like...
In the Gospels there are many references to the Kingdom of God (or Heaven as in St. Matthew's Gospel) and as many as nine times Our Lord tells us what the Kingdom of God is like:
Church on earth
Mt 13:24 Another parable he proposed to them, saying: The kingdom of heaven is likened to a man that sowed good seed in his field. But while men were asleep, his enemy came and oversowed cockle among the wheat and went his way.
Mt 13:47 Again the kingdom of heaven is like to a net cast into the sea, and gathering together of all kinds of fishes.
Interior kingdom of grace
Mt 13:31-2 Another parable he proposed unto them, saying: The kingdom of heaven is like to a grain of mustard seed, which a man took and sowed in his field. Which is the least indeed of all seeds; but when it is grown up, it is greater than all herbs, and becometh a tree, so that the birds of the air come, and dwell in the branches thereof.
Mt 13:33 Another parable he spoke to them: The kingdom of heaven is like to leaven, which a woman took and hid in three measures of meal, until the whole was leavened.
A place to be desired above other
Mt 13:44 The kingdom of heaven is like unto a treasure hidden in a field. Which a man having found, hid it, and for joy thereof goes, and sells all that he has, and buys that field.
Mt 13:45-6 Again the kingdom of heaven is like to a merchant seeking good pearls. Who when he had found one pearl of great price, went his way, and sold all that he had, and bought it.
A place of just recompense and mercy
Mt 20:1 The kingdom of heaven is like to a householder, who went out early in the morning to hire labourers into his vineyard. And having agreed with the labourers for a penny a day, he sent them into his vineyard.
Mt 18:25 Therefore is the kingdom of heaven likened to a king, who would take an account of his servants. And when he had begun to take the account, one was brought to him, that owed him ten thousand talents. And as he had not wherewith to pay it, his lord commanded that he should be sold, and his wife and children, and all that he had, and payment to be made.
A place to which we are all invited
Lk 14:15 When one of them that sat at table with him had heard these things, he said to him: Blessed is he that shall eat bread in the kingdom of God. 16 But he said to him: A certain man made a great supper and invited many. And he sent his servant at the hour of supper to say to them that were invited, that they should come: for now all things are ready. 18 And they began all at once to make excuse.
So why doesn't everyone respond to the invitation?
With all these wonderful similes, why do many reject the invitation to the kingdom? Everyone has an excuse. It is the draw of mundane things: worldly goods (farm & yolk of oxen), pleasures of the flesh ("I have married a wife"), or personal power which lead them to refuse the invitation and even to kill the servants (cf. St. John the Baptist). And woe to those who refuse the kingdom of heaven. the revenge of the king of the parable was a prophecy of the destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70.
In our own time, the rejection of the Kingdom of Heaven is made manifest by the failure of the Church hierarchy, ignorance (St. Pius X: “the greatest scourge of our time”), cold hearts: no spirit of self-sacrifice, no strength of will, no effort in the spiritual life ..no vocations. We have all been given sufficient graces (cf the wedding garment of Mt 22:11), but prefer the worship of self over God.
Time after Pentecost
The time after Pentecost represents our life here on earth. The drama of the objective redemption of man by the Incarnation, Passion, Death, Resurrection and Ascension into heaven is over. Now is the time to apply the fruits of that Redemption in our daily lives so that the Kingdom of Heaven grows within us. See that you instruct yourself in your faith – read, listen, teach; rekindle the spiritual life by prayer and sacrifice. Put your life in order so that the Kingdom of Heaven is like the mustard seed, the treasure of great price; a place that we yearn for and begin to enter as we make our earthly pilgrimage; a place we give our lives for.
As we enter upon this season of Pentecost, let us consider the invitation that we have all received. Let us ask the Blessed Virgin Mary to help us prepare for heaven so that we may spend our lives here below always saying yes to the divine call to the Kingdom of Heaven.