Evangelii Nuntiandi 11-12: Christ Proclaims the Kingdom

If Matthew’s Gospel give the strongest foundations of the Reign of God, then Pope Paul picks up on the other three evangelists to cite Jesus’ novelty, authority, approval, grace, and his uniqueness. The divinity shines through: Jesus says the Word, and our hearts and destiny are changed:

11. Christ accomplished this proclamation of the kingdom of God through the untiring preaching of a word which, it will be said, has no equal elsewhere: “Here is a teaching that is new, and with authority behind it.”[Mk 1:27] “And he won the approval of all, and they were astonished by the gracious words that came from his lips.[Lk 4:22] There has never been anybody who has spoken like him.”[Jn 7:46] His words reveal the secret of God, His plan and His promise, and thereby change the heart of man and his destiny.

Miracles are not wonders to be worked, but exist for the purpose of deepening faith and furthering the Reign of God:

12. But Christ also carries out this proclamation by innumerable signs, which amaze the crowds and at the same time draw them to Him in order to see Him, listen to Him and allow themselves to be transformed by Him: the sick are cured, water is changed into wine, bread is multiplied, the dead come back to life. And among all these signs there is the one to which He attaches great importance: the humble and the poor are evangelized, become His disciples and gather together “in His name” in the great community of those who believe in Him. For this Jesus who declared, “I must preach the Good News of the Kingdom of God”[Lk 4:43] is the same Jesus of whom John the Evangelist said that He had come and was to die “to gather together in unity the scattered children of God.”[Jn 11:52] Thus He accomplishes His revelation, completing it and confirming it by the entire revelation that He makes of Himself, by words and deeds, by signs and miracles, and more especially by His death, by His resurrection and by the sending of the Spirit of Truth.[Dei Verbum 4]

The Paschal Mystery is the apex of Jesus’ gift of signs to us. It is more than his death. It is also the Easter events: Resurrection, Ascension, and Pentecost. These are the signs which enable the Church to continue in its mission, inspired to spread the Kingdom by further Jesus’ Word and demonstrating in ourselves the transformation that is possible. Of course, that is the ideal. Even in our imperfections, Christ is able to work grace in the lives of seekers, non-believers, and even those Christians who have fallen into some degree of inactivity.

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in Minnesota, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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