by Kathy Matuschka
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He told them, ‘The secret of the kingdom of God has been given to you’ (Mark 4:11a).
This is confusing. Jesus tells his disciples the secret of the kingdom of God has been given to them, whereas the outsiders are told truths via parables. But Jesus’ disciples don’t seem to understand either Jesus’ straight talk or his parables! So why does Jesus say that the secret of the kingdom of God has been given to them?
Today, when we refer to ‘the secret’ in this way, we tend to refer to information (for example, a secret ingredient) or a technique (for example, the steps of a process).
No wonder we have trouble noticing the obvious – that Jesus is not referring to information or a process but himself: Jesus is the secret. Jesus has been given to the disciples and you and me also.
Do you know the secret of the kingdom of God? I hope so.
Jesus offers this key, or secret, as he tells this parable of the sower. He invites us not to look at the soil conditions but at him. In the kingdom of God, it’s not about trying our best to be fertile soil. It’s not about judging and correcting others when they seem to be choked up by the cares of life. The secret is unearthed not through our productivity but in receiving Jesus. He is the secret of the kingdom of God in all the ways he is present: in Christian community, in the written word of God, in the sacraments, in suffering, in paradoxes, ambiguity and unpredictability. The secret is gradually revealed as we live an ordinary life with its ups and downs, with our good days and our bad, our times of plenty and scarcity, in the presence of Jesus, in the power of God’s Holy Spirit and to the praise of our Creator.
Dear Jesus, thank you for the many ways you reveal yourself and your heart to me. By your Holy Spirit, please continue to teach and inspire me to know you and share you in a world that so needs to know this secret. Amen.