In the Gospels of Mark and Luke Jesus talks about the "Kingdom of God." In Matthew's Gospel he talks about the "Kingdom of Heaven." Because Matthew is a Jew, he substitutes "Heaven" for "God," but the phrase in all three Gospels points to the same Mystery.
Before we began using the three year cycle lectionary in the 70's, every year the Gospel used was almost always Matthew's, so we most often heard "Kingdom of Heaven." This led most of us to think that Jesus was talking about the place we go after dying.
The Greek word "basileia" refers, not to a place, but to the act of ruling. Instead of "Kingdom" many modern translations have "Reign of God," "Rule of God," "Dominion of God." Jesus is talking about God's act of ruling us and our whole world.
Since I often substitute "Love" as a name for God (1 John 4:8,) I come up with "The Reign of Love."
In Luke 4:43 Jesus says, "I must proclaim the Good News of The Reign of Love."
Interior of St. Brendan's Catholic Church in Elkins, WV.
"Every scribe that has become a disciple for the kingdom of heaven is like a householder who brings out of his treasury new things and old things. (Matthew 13:52)" Many think that this sentence is a self-portrait of the author of the Gospel. From this passage and others it seems that the author of this Gospel is a Jewish scribe who became a follower of Jesus. The first part of the Greek verb that is translated "who has become a disciple" sounds like "Matthew."
The author wants to assure his readers that a Jewish Christian treasures the old, his Jewish heritage, and the new, the teachings and life of Jesus. St. Brendan's Church, a glorious example of a modern church, has stained glass windows from the old church installed in some of its large clear windows.
Through the centuries Mary Magdalene has gone from being called "The Apostle to the Apostles" to being depicted as a penitent prostitute. There is no scriptural basis for the latter, but in John's Gospel the Risen Jesus sent (apostle means "someone who is sent") her to tell the other apostles that he had risen. The passage in John (20:11-18) is my favorite Resurrection story. It has a beautiful, personal feel about it as Mary comes to recognize the Risen Christ in the way he speaks her name.
Pope Francis has recently raised her July 22 feast to the same level as the other Apostles.
Last evening after the sun had set, everything looked very silvery as usual. Then, unexpectedly, the color in the clouds began and grew more and more beautiful. From the dock I received this special color on the ripples of the lake. Beauty will save the world.
(Clicking on the picture enlarges it to reveal more beauty.)
"Come to me. Learn from me. And I will give you rest," invites Jesus.
The rest Jesus gives comes from assimilating his attitudes, indeed his very person. Jesus lives in us and shares with us his goodness, his gentleness towards people, his heart given in obedience to his Father. What an effortless way to live!