1 When he saw the crowds, he went up the mountain, and after he had sat down, his disciples came to him. 2 He began to teach them, saying: 3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 4 Blessed are they who mourn, for they will be comforted. 5 Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the land. 6 Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be satisfied. 7 Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy. 8 Blessed are the clean of heart, for they will see God. 9 Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. 10 Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 11 Blessed are you when they insult you and persecute you and utter every kind of evil against you (falsely) because of me. 12 Rejoice and be glad, for your reward will be great in heaven. (Matthew 5:1-12)
“To what shall I compare the Kingdom of God? It is like yeast that a woman took and mixed in with three measures of wheat flour until the whole batch of dough was leavened.”
There are days when the Kingdom of God, the Reign of God seems like a marvelous idea that we wish we could trade in our current “state of things.” It just seems like an impossible idea.
I remember when I was young, my limited spiritual life revolved around worrying about whether or not I would go to heaven after I died. Even though I wasn’t too sure what heaven was like, I was scared to death of going to hell and wanted to avoid it at all costs. Fortunately, I came to learn (meaning this is what I was taught) that there were ways that I could manage this. If I could obey all of the rules – okay, most of the rules – and do a lot of extra devotional things like going to Confession, Mass and receiving Holy Communion on nine First Fridays of the month in a row, I would go straight to heaven. As a student in Catholic school, that was worked into the curriculum! This was gonna’ be easy.
And then I got older and slowly came to the realization that all the above was rather “quid pro quo” and almost seemed as though I could go before God and say, “Hey, I followed the rule, let me into heaven!”