Today Jesus, is talking about the Kingdom of Heaven in St. Matthews Gospel. In the time of Jesus, people had the understanding that the world was a flat plane. Above the flat earth was a dome. Above the dome was God. With God where all the spiritual souls of everyone who had lived in a godly way were living in an afterlife place which they called the Kingdom of Heaven. Jesus is trying to help people through the use of parables to have some understanding of this place. He also is telling his listeners that there will be new understandings as well as old understandings about Heaven and that this is good. (Matthew 13: 44)
Today with modern science we know a lot more about the structure of the planets and the universe and the dynamics which God put in place at creation through the evolution of time. We understand today that the Afterlife is a Spiritual existence which as Saint Paul said begins in your lifetime. Paul was progressive and remarkable in this insight. Jesus understood the nature of God and Heaven but had to speak to people of his time in a way that was understandable. Today we understand God to be living in us and around us in any and all things; all people; and animals on the planet as well as in the universe. This is known as “Panentheism”.
The implications of these facts are that we understand that heaven begins now within each of us. We are called to be heavenly! How we live our lives, how we speak, and how we interact with both ourselves and others around us including the planet is to be heavenly. We are not earning points for some afterlife. We are to live as members of the “Community of Heaven” now! I pray that as we reflect upon ourselves and our actions and ask ourselves: “Am I living as a heavenly being?” “Am I building the kingdom of heaven through my relationships and attitudes today?” It is a challenge but through prayer and with the presence of the Holy Spirit we can move forward as members of the company of disciples in the community of heaven. May God bless us all.