11th Sunday of the Year (B) 2018

Jesus of Nazareth was sent by the Holy Trinity to tell us about, and to inaugurate, the Kingdom of Heaven or the Kingdom of God.
This Kingdom of God is everything that the kingdoms of this world are not.
Take any aspect of government, of royalty, of dictatorship and you will find that the Kingdom of God is the direct opposite.
We find this unnerving. We find it very hard to swallow. We find it very difficult to accept and practise.
‘Blessed are the poor in spirit. Blessed are the meek.’ ‘It is like a mustard seed which is the smallest seed you plant in the ground.’ ‘Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.’ ‘it will be hard for one who is rich to enter the kingdom of heaven.’ ‘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.’ ‘When you give alms, do not let your left hand know what your right is doing.’
Moses was on the run from the Egyptian police when God called him to lead the Israelites to freedom. He had a bad stutter and had to have Aaron to speak for him.
David was not even considered by his father when Samuel came to anoint one of his sons king. They had to send someone to call him from where he was herding the sheep and goats in the bush. Jesus of Nazareth himself came from one of the poorest hamlets in the poverty stricken province of Galilee. ‘Can anything good come from Nazareth?’ was Nathaniel’s reply when told that Jesus was from Nazareth. Jesus called his twelve Apostles not from the religious leaders or the privileged classes but from everyday working people.
Lastly, our exemplar, our Leader, our God is executed on a cross as a subversive and a criminal.
I could profitably spend some time thinking about the following quotation from Jesus of Nazareth – the convicted and executed criminal – who is my God.
‘This I command you: love one another. If the world hates you, realise that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, the world would love its own; but because you do not belong to the world, and I have chosen you out of the world, the world hates you.’
So do I belong to the ‘world’ or to the Criminal?