Friday of the Third Week in Ordinary Time
In “Jacobellis vs. Ohio,” 1964, the Supreme Court wrestled with the contentious issue of state censorship of pornographic material. Some justices thought that the state has no business trying to regulate what adults can see. Others thought that a state has a legitimate interest in restricting pornography. Justice Potter Stewart rendered his opinion which would permit all forms of obscenity except “hard-core pornography.” Commenting on what he meant by the latter, Justice Stewart wrote that he could not define the term. “But,” he said, “I know it when I see it.”
Although it has a diametrically opposite character, many of us have a similar difficulty explaining the Kingdom of God as Justice Stewart had defining pornography. Like him we might resign ourselves to say, “I know it when I see it.” In the gospel parables today Jesus provides us with some signs to look for. He says that the Kingdom starts as a seed planted by a sower whom, from a previous parable, we know to be a preacher of the word of God. Then, Jesus continues, the Kingdom grows slowly like a plant, produces good fruit, and becomes a great source of comfort for many.
We find examples of the Kingdom of God in the many movements within the Church like Marriage Encounter and Teens Encounter Christ. We might locate the Kingdom developing in our own lives as we slowly mature to give greater glory to God. Multiplied by millions of individuals, the Kingdom becomes a global reality exhibiting peace, justice, and compassion.