by Ken Rolheiser
In what world will God’s Kingdom come

An emperor called together all the children in the kingdom and said, "It is time for me to choose the next emperor. I am giving each of you a special seed. Come back here one year from today with what you have grown. Then I will choose my successor.”

Ling took his seed, planted it and watered it every day. Nothing grew. All the other youths bragged about their plants. Ling kept checking his seed, but nothing grew. He just knew he had killed it.

After a year all the youths brought their plants to the emperor. Sick to his stomach, Ling took his empty pot to the palace. Many of the children laughed at him. 

The emperor arrived and said, "What great plants, trees and flowers you have grown. One of you will become the next emperor!" He spotted Ling at the back of the room with his empty pot and ordered his guards to bring him to the front.

The emperor announced, "One year ago today I gave you all boiled seeds which would not grow. You substituted another seed for the one I gave you. Ling was the only one with the courage and honesty to bring me a pot with my seed in it. He is the new emperor!"

It is the time of year when we reflect on Judgement Day and God’s Kingdom. The liturgical year is ending, and Advent heralds a new year when the birth of Jesus will again bring the Good News of God’s Kingdom. And in our daily prayers we say, “Thy Kingdom come.”

In the story of Ling above we see the value of being faithful to truth and goodness. Deceit is from the devil, and we all fall prey when fall from grace. Earth needs redemption, and that is the role Jesus comes to fill in the incarnation.

At the time of creation God saw that the world was indeed good. Our fall from grace necessitated the love and sacrifice of Jesus. Jesus announced the Good News of the Kingdom – that the Kingdom is in our midst. (Luke 17:21). 

We should enter God’s Kingdom through the narrow gate (Matthew 7:13), not like the other children in Ling’s story who took short cuts and cheated to try to win the emperor’s favor. Our journey is made easier with Jesus’ help.

The Lamb of God will lead us to the springs of living water. (Revelations 7:17). The kingdom of heaven belongs to those who are innocent as children. (Matthew 19:14). The Beatitudes give us the blueprint to attain the Kingdom of God.

Blessed are the poor in spirit, those who mourn, the meek, those who hunger and thirst for justice, the peacemakers, the merciful, the pure in heart, and those persecuted for the sake of righteousness. (Matthew 5:3-10).

Jesus established a Kingdom of love. His sacrifice wedded heaven to earth, our world. That is the message in the Easter proclamation that dates back more than 1200 years to a Latin song that proclaims God delivering his people, us, from slavery to sin.

The light of Christ dispels the darkness of sin and death. His body and blood are food for the journey that ends on judgement day where Hell is a place outside the sacred city. Only those who choose to will go there. As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord. (Joshua 24:15).

(573 words)