5.23. 2021. From Laurence Freeman OSB, “The Kingdom of Forgiveness” in JESUS THE TEACHER WITHIN (New York: Continuum, 2000), pp. 116, 119.
[T]he Kingdom . . . is not a system of morality. The Kingdom is not a place we are going to. Nor is it a reward we are to receive for good behavior. The Kingdom upsets normal ways of thinking more deeply than the strictest of moral commandments. It is a fundamental experience of reality as it truly is. To be in the Kingdom is to be in harmony with heaven and earth, with friend and foe, with body and mind. It changes the way you even want to live. [ . . . .] The Church is not the Kingdom. Human excellence or moral perfection or fulfilment of religious laws are not the Kingdom. The Kingdom is not reward for good behavior. Mystical experience is not the Kingdom. In relationship to Jesus we see that the Kingdom, like God, simply is love, is everywhere, within and among us simultaneously, transcending the mental constructs we label time and space and cause and effect. In the Kingdom there are no passports or identity cards because there are no longer any frontiers to cross, no divisions to separate. Neither male or female, Jew nor Greek, Catholic nor Protestant, Christian nor non-Christian, gay nor straight, Arab nor Israeli, Serb nor Croat, Hindu nor Muslim, black nor white, rich nor poor, conservative nor liberal, Tutsi nor Hutu. In the Kingdom, each individual being is inseparable from every other in the divine web of Bring. The fullest self-knowledge dawns in awakening to the oneness of the human family and its oneness with God.
After meditation: “Easy Pickings” by Kim Stafford in SINGER COME FROM AFAR (Pasadena: Red Hen Press, 2021), p. 124.
It’s easy to laugh in the blueberry field,
staccato plink and plunk as berries plummet
into the pail, and you hear children banter
in a dozen languages among the green rows.
It’s easy to forgive there, too—
viewing old betrayals sweetly diminished
by the honeyed crush of berries on your tongue.
It’s even possible to imagine peace
between people who hated each other
before their children met between these rows
and asked one another, “Shall we pick together?”
Come pick with me, my enemy, my angry self,
come, split couple bickering over money,
come to the blueberry field, Palestine and Israel,
come bow and squint under the sun-splashed leaves,
come peer into these dark shadows for blue.