Monday, February 20, 2006
The Kingdom of God
By Thomas Morehead
Before you read what I have to say here today I’d like you to try something. Get out of your chair and try standing on your head. Go ahead I’ll wait.
OK. At this point one of three things has most likely occurred; you dismissed what I said and didn’t try (that's OK), you tried and found it too difficult, you were able to do it.
In any of these cases you now have some perspective on how the Jews that heard Jesus’ message first hand must have felt. When He proclaimed that the Kingdom of God was at hand, Jesus stood the first century Jewish society on its head. The things they believed to be important He said weren’t and those things they dismissed or shunned as insignificant He said were paramount.
At the beginning of His public ministry the Gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke record that Jesus announced that God’s Kingdom was at hand. Repent and Believe! This initial supplication should have given his followers a clue. When Jesus enjoined the people to repent He was telling them (and us) to turn away from their present life and lead one that is entirely different - a complete restructuring of priorities. The Greek word that the Evangelists use is Metanoia. It connotes a complete transformation. One in which the loyalties of the person are totally realigned. Jesus beseeched those to join the Kingdom of God. What importance did Jesus subscribe to this plea? Read Mt 6, 25-34. The key verse in the cite is 33a, “But seek first the kingdom [of God] and his righteousness.” Matthew portrays Jesus placing the pursuit of God’s kingdom as the highest priority. That being the case I’d like to take a detailed look at what it is that Jesus teaches the Kingdom of God to be.
The first wonderful aspect to realize is that Jesus teaches that God’s Kingdom is now present on earth, albeit imperfectly. Membership in the Kingdom requires that the participants believe that Jesus is their King and adhere to God’s law. Laws revealed in the Hebrew Scripture, beginning with the 10 Commandments, and brought to fulfillment by Jesus. The following topics attempt to summarize the areas of life to focus on when we consider God’s Kingdom:
Love of Neighbor/Stewardship
People of God/Church
This list is not all-inclusive but I do believe it addresses the major areas of consideration. I hope as you read what will follow in the days ahead you will consider what is written and how it applies to your life. I welcome your comments.
What I have and will write here comes from a number of sources. Two are of primary importance: The Catechism of the Catholic Church being the first and most significant and Jesus before Christianity by Albert Nolan, O.P. the second.
When we pray for the coming of God’s Kingdom do we truly understand the impact of that plea? Be ready to stand on your head!