Jesus was a Jew speaking to Jews, and he used words that his people could understand. His words are expressions of His own thinking and understanding, and no doubt of His own spiritual experiences. When we truly attend to the words of Jesus, and think about their meaning, we are receiving into our minds and hearts His mind, His understanding, His way of doing things, at least to some extent. As Christ gives Himself to us in the Eucharist, so He gives Himself to us in his preaching, and however imperfectly, in the preaching and teaching of those who present Christ and His word to us. Again, if you and I do not listen and seek to understand what Christ Jesus means when He speaks to us, His words are in effect lost on us, they are “carried off by birds,” and cannot fulfill their purpose. And what is the purpose of Jesus’ preaching? To open us up to the reality, the goodness, the beauty, the truth of the living God, and so to help us to do the will of God and live in His joy now and eternally. He wants us to “enter into the joy of the LORD,” to experience His peace, and “to bear much fruit.” Christ wants us to live fully as one with Him, with God Almighty, and so one with every creature to the extent possible.
In preaching his parables, and in our listening with understanding, Jesus is drawing us into “the Kingdom of God.” Christ is sharing in God’s re-creation of reality, the restoration of God’s original will that all be happy and complete forever. Our duty is to accept God’s rule over us, God’s way of doing things. That is, I suggest, the primary meaning of “the Kingdom of God.” It is God bringing us, humankind, indeed all of creation into a complete and blessed union with He Who Is. To “enter the Kingdom,” to live in God, we must keep choosing God’s way, absorbing His mind, His words, and putting them into practice. As we do not do whatever we spontaneously want, but seek to do God’s good and life-giving will, we break from evil, sin, and death, and become “children of light,” advancing “from one degree of glory to another.”
Sooner or later, many of us discover that God’s way really is the best way, and in this discovery, we are willing to let go of our own plans and pet projects in order to share in God’s life and joy. A disciple of Jesus learns again and again that God Himself is the “pearl of great price,” the one supreme good worth far more than all else the world can give. As with Jesus, so with His disciples: “Not my will, but your will be done.” To say these words, to mean them, and to forsake everything contrary to God’s way is to discover and to live in “the Kingdom of God.”