Grace to you!
Yesterday, I started a discussion on a simple understanding of the Kingdom of God, which is also called the Kingdom of Heaven.
Recall we shared that first; the kingdom of God is here. It’s in our midst. Second, the kingdom of God is yet to come. This sounds contradictory, doesn’t it? However, theologically it doesn’t.
Jesus says to the Pharisees and to us: “The Kingdom of God is in your midst” (Luke 17:21). So we shouldn’t be thinking of simply what is to come, ignoring what is already here.
As Pope Saint John Paul II wrote in Redemptoris Missio paragraph 13, “The eschatological reality is not relegated to a remote “end of the world,” but is already close and at work in our midst. The kingdom of God is at hand (cf. Mk 1:15).”
God’s kingdom here is life and grace in Christ. Christ is the fullness of the kingdom revealed to us. As the pope rightly said, “The kingdom of God is not a concept, a doctrine, or a program subject to free interpretation, but it is before all else a person with the face and name of Jesus of Nazareth, the image of the invisible God” (Redemptoris Missio, 18).
Entrance into this kingdom is by faith and conversion into the Christ and not merely by reason of birthplace, ethnicity or culture (see Redemptoris Missio, 13).
Jesus of Nazareth proclaimed God’s kingdom; and the disciples of Jesus, then and now, live and proclaim the Kingdom of God, which is fulfilled in Christ. For us Christians, the kingdom is God-centered and Christ-centered.
The Church is a unique messenger of that kingdom since she is the body of Christ, becoming the “seed, sign and instrument” of the Kingdom (Redemptoris Missio, 18). Thus, the kingdom that is in our midst is Christ and we live in Him, not only in the personal, private way, but more so in an organic way in His body the Church.
The kingdom is also yet to come, meaning the perfect Kingdom,
when we shall see the Triune God face to face. It’s exciting to hope for that experience. Saint Paul says it is way beyond any human expectation (see I Corinthian 2:9).
I always cherish these encouraging words from Jesus Christ the Lord, reassuring us of the reality of the Kingdom to come and the hope-fulfillment thereof: “Let not your hearts be troubled; believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And when I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also” (John 14:1-3).
I pray we embrace the life and grace in Christ, hoping to see the Lord face to face. Amen
God love you. God bless you.
Fr. Maurice Emelu
Fr. Maurice Emelu
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.