Redemptoris Missio 13bcd: The Biblical Witness For The Kingdom

Let’s complete our reading of section 13, “Christ Makes the Kingdom Present.” You may remember that one of the Luminous Mysteries proposed by Pope John Paul II was the proclamation of the Kingdom of God. There is less any single Gospel passage that illustrates this than we would find a consistent vector of preaching and action by the Lord.

John Paul offers a few Bible citations:

The ministry of Jesus is described in the context of his journeys within his homeland. Before Easter, the scope of his mission was focused on Israel. Nevertheless, Jesus offers a new element of extreme importance. The eschatological reality is not relegated to a remote “end of the world,” but is already close and at work in our midst. The kingdom of God is at hand (cf. Mk 1:15); its coming is to be prayed for (cf. Mt 6:10); faith can glimpse it already at work in signs such as miracles (cf. Mt 11:4-5) and exorcisms (cf. Mt 12:25-28), in the choosing of the Twelve (cf. Mk 3:13-19), and in the proclamation of the Good News to the poor (cf. Lk 4:18). Jesus’ encounters with Gentiles make it clear that entry into the kingdom comes through faith and conversion (cf. Mk 1:15), and not merely by reason of ethnic background.

This tells us that God’s Reign is in evidence when Jesus heals people, when he calls disciples, and when he reaches out to those in need. We cooperate when we pray, when we allow faith to well up inside of us, and when we give good example.

The kingdom which Jesus inaugurates is the kingdom of God. Jesus himself reveals who this God is, the One whom he addresses by the intimate term “Abba,” Father (cf. Mk 14:36). God, as revealed above all in the parables (cf. Lk 15:3-32; Mt 20:1-16), is sensitive to the needs and sufferings of every human being: he is a Father filled with love and compassion, who grants forgiveness and freely bestows the favors asked of him.

In other words, we are speaking of a Kingdom of Mercy.

St. John tells us that “God is love” (1 Jn 4:8, 16). Every person therefore is invited to “repent” and to “believe” in God’s merciful love. The kingdom will grow insofar as every person learns to turn to God in the intimacy of prayer as to a Father (cf. Lk 11:2; Mt 23:9) and strives to do his will (cf. Mt 7:21).

Pope John Paul II emphasizes union with God. The interesting things about this last citation, especially coming at the end of the Sermon on the Mount, is that it references the Lord’s urging for the holiness of his disciples to exceed that of the observant religious of his day. Certainly it seems that a non-believer who aspires to action with and for the needy is deeper in God’s family than a believer who remains apart from the actual actions of Jesus.

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

 

About catholicsensibility

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