Shall we look into John Paul II’s next theme: In the Risen Christ God’s Kingdom Is Fulfilled and Proclaimed? The Paschal Mystery is mentioned yet again. I never tire of hearing of it. I hope the same is true for you readers. It is a term and concept that should never tire a Christian.
By raising Jesus from the dead, God has conquered death, and in Jesus he has definitely inaugurated his kingdom. During his earthly life, Jesus was the Prophet of the kingdom; after his passion, resurrection and ascension into heaven he shares in God’s power and in his dominion over the world (cf. Mt 28:18; Acts 2:36; Eph 1:18-21).
These Easter season readings cited above should be well familiar to us from Mass, or at least livestreaming as of late.
The resurrection gives a universal scope to Christ’s message, his actions and whole mission. The disciples recognize that the kingdom is already present in the person of Jesus and is slowly being established within man and the world through a mysterious connection with him.
It’s not mentioned in this section, but the encounter on the road to Emmaus is the hallmark of this experience. The two companions are gradually moved from despair to a movement of joy. They are led through the tradition of the Law and Prophets and emerge at table with the Lord, where they experience something altogether new and different. Cleopas and his wife might not be able to label it “Kingdom of God,” but what they described to the disciples back in Jerusalem is no small bit of evidence of its emergence in the world.
Remember also Martha’s witness in John’s Gospel:
I have come to believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, the one who is coming into the world. (11:27b)
Is it just the strange wording, or a theological afterthought by the evangelist? I’d like to believe the woman of Bethany is well aware of the process already begun. Newness is breaking into the world. The relationship between human beings and God will never be the same.
The kerygma moves ahead after Pentecost, as we read all through the Christian Scriptures:
Indeed, after the resurrection, the disciples preach the kingdom by proclaiming Jesus crucified and risen from the dead. In Samaria, Philip “preached good news about the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ” (Acts 8:12). In Rome, we find Paul “preaching the kingdom of God and teaching about the Lord Jesus Christ” (Acts 28:31). The first Christians also proclaim “the kingdom of Christ and of God” (Eph 5:5; cf. Rev 11:15; 12:10), or “the kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Pt 1:11).
This is an important historical insight by the pope:
The preaching of the early Church was centered on the proclamation of Jesus Christ, with whom the kingdom was identified. Now, as then, there is a need to unite the proclamation of the kingdom of God (the content of Jesus’ own “kerygma”) and the proclamation of the Christ-event (the “kerygma” of the apostles). The two proclamations are complementary; each throws light on the other.
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