Kingdom of God

In the Gospels, Matthew sums up the Lord's teaching as, "proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom" (Matthew 4:23), and in Luke, Jesus describes this as the object of his mission, "To the other towns also I must proclaim the good news of the kingdom of God, because for this purpose I am sent" (Luke 4:43).

Jesus came before his people as the Messiah predicted by the prophets. The Gospels give clear evidence that a distorted perception of the kingdom of God was widespread in the time of Jesus, and that is why He spent so much time teaching about the nature of the kingdom. He preached and announced the true meaning of the kingdom, and addressed his teachings to those with false ideas about it.

Mahatma Gandhi understood the nature of the kingdom and his words have special significance to all mankind, and especially for Christians, “The Kingdom of God is within us and we can realize it not by saying, ‘Lord, Lord,’ but by doing God’s will and work. Therefore if we wait for the Kingdom to come, as something coming from outside, we shall be sadly mistaken”. His advice should challenge each of us to ponder our words and deeds; for he recognized that love is central.

Pope John Paul II summarized the understanding of the Kingdom of God this way, “In a word, the kingdom of God is the manifestation and the realization of God's plan of salvation in all its fullness”. The good news of the kingdom of God was the starting point and center of Jesus’ ministry. He was sent to announce the kingdom, to persuade men and women to believe in his gospel, and to unite all the faithful in this new kingdom.

At its core, the kingdom is fundamentally about salvation. Jesus taught constantly about the Kingdom of God, it was at the center of his teaching and life and it should be at the center of our lives.

The “Kingdom of God” sounds kind of heavenly, but it is right-here right-now in the midst of all of us. It has an earthly part and a heavenly part, which coexist and are related to one another. This kingdom is the realization of God's authority over mankind, and it is established as a true and real kingdom. It is the gathering together of a religious community, as the body of Christ, with the Son of God as its head.

The seed and initial gathering of this kingdom is the Church, founded by Christ to preach the gospel and to bring the means of salvation to the world. We are the Kingdom of God which manifests itself through us in our individual relationship with Jesus, and collectively when we gather together in worship.

As Christians, we are living surrendered lives in Jesus the resurrected Christ, the Son of the Living God. For Christians, the Kingdom of God is the love of Christ burning within our hearts, ready to be shared with those around us; our spouses, parents, children, priests, colleagues, friends, and especially the poor and needy, the sick and dying, and even our enemies.

The Kingdom is God working through us, in us, and by us. It is wherever the power and glory of God is revealed, witnessed to, and confessed publicly. Gandhi realized and expressed this love and he shared this love with millions.

The realization of the Kingdom of God depends on an attitude of the heart. Kingdom and salvation are available to every human being as grace and mercy. Yet at the same time each individual must gain them through toil and suffering, through a life lived according to the Gospel, through belief in the Cross and the resurrection, and through the spirit of the beatitudes. Above all each individual must gain them through a total renewal which the Gospel calls metanoia; it is a radical conversion, a profound change of mind and heart.

The Kingdom of God is brought about by God and is God's gift, but it does not come about without human collaboration. It is proclaimed by the Church in word and in sacrament, and it is the testimony of the Church in its very life. It enters into the world through the various efforts of the Church on behalf of justice, peace, and human reconciliation.

In English and Greek, the word “Kingdom” is passive; it is a place. In Hebrew, the word "Kingdom" is active; it is God ruling and acting in the lives of men and women. It is those who are ruled by God, those who have surrendered to God, and those who are keeping the Word of God.

So it is that in The Holy Eucharist the resurrected Jesus, our Lord and our God, is present in our midst, in action, and it is in the Holy Eucharist that we too are in action. We are praying, agreeing, participating, and moving forward to receive Him who is our Lord.

There is the "Kingdom of God", always present tense active, the movement and action of God in our lives, in our midst and working through us. It is within His Kingdom that each of us can realize the Love of God to show others the light, the way, and the path to our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Instructor’s Evaluation Follows:

This paper was submitted, and was eventually returned with comments and suggestions for improvement. Unfortunately it was not early enough to submit a corrected and improved version of the paper incorporating the instructor’s suggestions. His comments are worth passing on, however, and although I’ve edited the
various comments, here is what I learned:

1) He wrote that the paper was, “Written with passion and conviction and a poetic sense”.

2) Concerning my comment that the Kingdom of God is right-here right-now, he wrote, “Good”.

3) Concerning my comment that as Christians, we are living surrendered lives in Jesus, he wrote, “?”