Redemptoris Missio 12: The Kingdom of God

John Paul’s second chapter addresses a reality so many of us try to grasp: the Reign of God. Is it a political reality? Is it heaven? Is it liturgy? Is it here yet? Would we know it if we saw it?

Our author seems to side with the not-yet, but with a lot of mercy worked in:

“It is ‘God, who is rich in mercy’ whom Jesus Christ has revealed to us as Father: it is his very Son who, in himself, has manifested him and made him known to us.”(Dives in Misericordia 1) I wrote this at the beginning of my Encyclical Dives in Misericordia, to show that Christ is the revelation and incarnation of the Father’s mercy. Salvation consists in believing and accepting the mystery of the Father and of his love, made manifest and freely given in Jesus through the Spirit. In this way the kingdom of God comes to be fulfilled: the kingdom prepared for in the Old Testament, brought about by Christ and in Christ, and proclaimed to all peoples by the Church, which works and prays for its perfect and definitive realization.

We need to see the Reign of God in the perspective of history. We likely err greatly if we think of it in terms of a political reality, here or in some future. It began before the Incarnation:

The Old Testament attests that God chose and formed a people for himself, in order to reveal and carry out his loving plan. But at the same time God is the Creator and Father of all people; he cares and provides for them, extending his blessing to all (cf. Gn 12:3); he has established a covenant with all of them (cf. Gn 9:1-17). Israel experiences a personal and saving God (cf. Dt 4:37; 7:6-8; Is 43:1-7) and becomes his witness and interpreter among the nations. In the course of her history, Israel comes to realize that her election has a universal meaning (cf. for example Is 2:2-5; 25:6-8; 60:1-6; Jer 3:17; 16:19).

Or in the Psalms 67:5, 72:8, 98:9. Thoughts of comments?

This document is available online here and is © Copyright – Libreria Editrice Vaticana


About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in the Pacific Northwest, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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