Grace to you!
Many times we pray the Lord’s Prayer, Our Father. The first petition in the Lord’s Prayer after the doxology (praises to God) is “Thy kingdom come.”
When we say that prayer, I hope we ponder the words. Many times I rush the words of the prayer without thinking about them, just as I pass over many of the rich contents of our prayers without reflecting on the profound and beautiful meanings.
Connecting with the words we use at prayers, especially many of our traditional prayers, could help us grow spiritually and deepen our faith. The Church has many beautiful traditional prayers that could benefit us when we say them.
Let’s think for a moment about the expression “Thy kingdom come.” We pray for the coming of God’s kingdom. In fact, many expect and long so dearly that ”Thy kingdom come.”
Once a woman who had suffered so much lamented how God is waiting so long and won’t come right away. You may have also heard of people who look at the evil in the world and wished the kingdom would come rather quickly.
Such thoughts could be confusing. Do they mean the end of the world, their personal death or some catastrophic end? Do they mean salvation in Christ, the fulfillment of God’s eternal plan?
In the Gospel of Luke 17:20-21, the Pharisees asked Jesus when the kingdom of God was coming, to which he answered: “The kingdom of God is not coming with signs to be observed; nor will they say, ‘Lo, here it is!’ or ‘There!’ for behold, the kingdom of God is in the midst of you.”
From Jesus’ response above, it’s evident that looking for the sign of the kingdom in the exclusive sense of “the end to come” isn’t the best disposition. It’s important we resist that temptation.
When Scripture speaks of God’s kingdom, two interchangeable expressions are used for the same thing – kingdom of heaven (see Matthew 19:23) and kingdom of God.
Understanding the meaning of the kingdom of God could help us appreciate the prayer “thy kingdom come,” and develop a better disposition concerning the question of the coming of the kingdom.
First, the kingdom of God is here, it’s in our midst. Second, the kingdom of God is yet to come as well.
Tomorrow I will continue this reflection with you as we ponder what “the kingdom is here” is, and what “the kingdom is yet to come” means for our spiritual journey. As you know, our daily reflections are about spiritual nuggets, intended to accompany us in our spiritual journey.
Praying God will grant us the grace to connect with the words of the prayers we say. Amen.
God love you. God bless you.
Fr. Maurice Emelu
Fr. Maurice Emelu, Ph.D.
Father Maurice provides a daily blog of reflections based on the bible readings of the day from the Catholic liturgical calendar. You will find these reflections helpful for your spiritual growth, inspiration and developing your own thoughts. It may also be helpful for ministers in preparing their sermons for liturgical celebrations.