[COLUMN] The Kingdom of God in the ‘here and now’

I LIKE Gerald Darring’s down-to-earth description of the Kingdom of God in his book, To Love and Serve: Lectionary Based Meditations. He states:

The Kingdom of God is a space. It exists in every home where parents and children love each other. It exists in every region and country that cares for its weak and vulnerable. It exists in every parish that reaches out to the needy.

The Kingdom of God is a time. It happens when someone feeds a hungry person, or shelters a homeless person, or shows care to a neglected person. It happens whenever we overturn an unjust law, or correct an injustice, or avert a war. It happens whenever people join in the struggle to overcome poverty, to erase ignorance, to pass on the faith. 

The Kingdom of God is in the past (in the life and work of Jesus of Nazareth); it is in the present (in the work of the Church and in the efforts of many others to create a world of goodness and justice); it in in the future (reaching its completion in the age to come).

The Kingdom of God is a condition. Its symptoms are love, justice, and peace.

Without understating the Second Coming when the Lord, Jesus Christ, will come “amid the clouds,” “robed in majesty,” adored and served by all peoples, nations, and languages, I think Darring’s statement on Christ’s Kingdom on earth hit a chord in many of us.

The fulfillment of Christ’s Kingdom begins in the “here and now” and not in the far distant future. It’s not some “out of this world” phenomenon but actual realities of love, justice, and peace. It is not an abstract idea but an experience of God’s presence in our hearts and the world through a life of prayer and charity.

Christ’s Kingdom happens when we humbly submit ourselves to him and his values and when families make him the center of their home and their relationship.

Christ’s Kingdom is integral, encompassing and intersecting every dimension of our lives. It penetrates our hearts and prioritizes our relationship with God. And so what we want to share with our children about Christ’s Kingdom values are not just taught but are lived or practiced first by us–parents and adults.

It is disconcerting to realize that “living the faith” doesn’t happen well in a parish when families are not coming to Mass to receive Jesus in Word and Sacrament. This situation does not reflect our allegiance to Christ, our King, who died for our sins to save us and grant us eternal life.

Every Sunday at Mass, we declare Christ’s Kingship and our fidelity to him. We express it not just as individuals but as a Christian community. We come together to be a beacon of light to the rest of society, promising to make this world a kingdom of love, justice, and peace.

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The opinions, beliefs and viewpoints expressed by the author do not necessarily reflect the opinions, beliefs and viewpoints of the Asian Journal, its management, editorial board and staff.

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Fr. Rodel “Odey” Balagtas is the pastor of Incarnation Church in Glendale, California.

 

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