For Pope Francis, Kingdom of God Grows by Silent Witness
The kingdom of God is not far from us, the Holy Father observed, but, often, it’s ‘hidden in the holiness of daily life.’
VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis said in his homily at Mass on Nov. 13 that the kingdom of God, already present among us, never attracts attention to itself, but, rather, is cultivated though silent holiness in everyday life.
“The kingdom of God is humble, like the seed: humble, but it becomes great by the power of the Holy Spirit,” the Pope told those at the chapel of the Vatican’s St. Martha guesthouse.
“It is up to us to let it grow in us, without boasting about it: Let the Spirit come, change our soul and carry us forward in silence, in peace, in tranquility, in closeness to God, to others, in worship of God, without spectacle.”
The Holy Father centered his reflections on the day’s Gospel reading from Luke, in which the Pharisees ask Christ when the kingdom of God would come. In response, Christ tells them it is already there and reveals that when the Son of Man returns it will be like lightning in the sky.
Rather than being noisy and trying to be part of the crowd, the kingdom of God is like a seed that grows underground, always going deeper without attracting attention, the Pope explained.
“The kingdom of God is not a spectacle. The Lord never says that the kingdom of God is a spectacle. It is a celebration,” which is something different, he observed.
Although this celebration is something beautiful that we will experience in heaven, our human weakness is often drawn toward spectacles, the Pope said, noting how often we use normal celebrations to create a big scene.
Weddings are a good example, he said, observing how, oftentimes, the couple getting married is more concerned with putting on a “fashion show, being seen, vanity,” than receiving the sacrament.
On the other hand, “the kingdom of God is silent; it grows inside. The Holy Spirit nourishes it through our willingness, in our land, which we have to prepare.”
Eventually, the day will come when the kingdom is manifested in all of its glory, he said, but that will not happen until the end of time, when Christ will come, “make noise” and “flash like lightning” that lights the sky up from one side to the other.
“When one thinks of the perseverance of many Christians who struggle to raise their family — who care for children, care for grandparents and arrive at the end of the month with only half a euro, but who pray,” this is where the kingdom of God is found, the Pope added.
The kingdom of God is not far from us, but is near and often “hidden in the holiness of daily life,” the Holy Father observed.
Pope Francis explained how even when Christ describes his glorious return, he immediately speaks of his coming passion and death, saying that he will have to suffer many things first and be rejected by the people of that generation.
“Even suffering, the cross, the cross of everyday life — the cross of work, family, to carry on doing good things — this small, daily cross is part of the kingdom of God.”
The Pope concluded by encouraging those present to pray for the grace to nurture the kingdom of God present inside themselves silently with prayer, worship and acts of charity.