The Kingdom of God

FR DAVID WRITES…Dear Sisters and Brothers, now and not yet! I remember, vividly, listening to a fabulous theologian talking about the Kingdom of God – or as I put it the other week in a homily – the ‘reign’ of God – where he talked about the “famous” now and not yet of the Kingdom. What did he mean? Well, Jesus spoke about the Kingdom constantly in his teaching; from stories that began, “The kingdom of God can be compared to…” or “The Kingdom of God is like….”, and occasionally, he would say to some earnest questioner “The Kingdom of God is very close to you” or to those who opposed him: “The Kingdom of God will overtake you…”. But he also told us that
attempting to predict the dates and times when the Kingdom will “come” is futile.  So, is our Christian discipleship merely one akin to having a clean driving licence when we are asked to produce it for inspection? Should we respond to Christ’s message by keeping our nose clean and our reputation intact? Head down waiting for the great “Day”? Or is there a little more to it than that? – Of course, there is! A lot more!

We can see today from the Gospel, and from, say, the Beatitudes in Matthew chapter 5 (part of the sermon on the mount) that the Kingdom is something we live. It’s an attitude of heart and mind. So, when we live “in” Beatitude, with virtuous lives of generosity and compassion and faith, then we are living the Kingdom now. It is among us. And we, as St Paul says “make up what is lacking in Jesus’ sacrifice”. The Gospel today says nothing at all about the life of prayer and worship and sacrifice but so very much about our lived attitudes to our fellow human beings – and by extension, to the whole of creation. When we care about others, or our planet, then we are acknowledging that they are God’s creation and he cares for them. We participate in that care, through faith and in love. But we also point beyond our actions and prayers and worship to the fulfilment of all those things when
the Kingdom will come in its fulness and completeness and in its universality – everything and everyone will be redeemed, and the Day we live in hope for will actually arrive when He is “all in all.”

Until then, we must continue the work of faith, love and hope, knowing that the Kingdom is here among us in our lives and in the lives of those around us and pointing forward to when the “Not yet” has become the “Now” for all eternity and forever.

With my love and prayers. Fr David Benedict

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