Thy Kingdom Come
3rd Sunday in Ordinary Time (B)

Antonio P. Pueyo
Reproduced with Permission

This Sunday’s gospel tells the beginning of the preaching of Jesus, “Jesus appeared in Galilee proclaiming the good news of God: ‘This is the time of fulfillment. The reign of God is at hand! Reform your lives and believe in the gospel’ (Mk. 1:14-15).”

Action starter: What is your advocacy? Do something for the Kingdom.

The “reign of God” is also rendered as the “kingdom of God” in other translations. There is a consensus among theologians that at the center of the preaching of Jesus is this message about the reign of God. In the prayer that Jesus taught the disciples, one of the petitions is “Thy Kingdom come.” Many of the parables of Jesus are prefaced with the phrase, “The kingdom of God may be likened to.”

This concept has caught my interest since I was a theological student. Given its complexity and the theological debates about it, I have made for myself a summary about what the kingdom of God is:

  1. The kingdom of God consists of the fullness of life or the fullness of God’s blessings.
  2. The kingdom of God is coming. God will bring it to complete fulfillment.
  3. The kingdom of God is here. It is made present in the person of Jesus.
  4. The kingdom of God is not just in heaven. Signs of its realization are manifested on earth.
  5. The kingdom of God is not just in the heart. It is a social reality.
  6. The kingdom of God is a future that beckons and a dream that empowers us to work for its realization in the present.

There are other words used to describe this inexhaustible mystery that is the kingdom of God. The Book of Revelation speaks of “new heavens and new earth (Rev. 21:1)”. St. Paul envisions a future reality where “God may be all in all. (1Cor. 15:28).” A Filipino author, uses an interesting image. He describes the kingdom of God as “the leaven of today in the dough of the bread of tomorrow” (Pernia, A.). It is “not yet” but “already”. That may seem a contradiction but like other mysteri es of the faith, it is a paradox (Virgin Mother, God-Man, Three-but-One, Life-through-death). The kingdom of God is a gift from God and at the same time a project we help build.

Jesus’ own preoccupation is to make present this reign of God, “to bring glad tidings to the poor, to proclaim liberty to captives, recovery of sight to the blind and release to prisoners, to announce a year of favor from God. (Lk. 4:18).” He saw clearly that his mission of presenting the reign of God means also bringing life (Jn 10:10).

What then does this mean for us in this third millennium? If the kingdom of God is both a gift and a project, then we are participants in the crafting of a new heaven and a new earth. We are involved in bringing about a situation where God will be all in all. We are co-creators in realizing a new society of justice and love. We are God’s partners in bringing about a culture of life. That leaves so much challenge for a disciple of Jesus. The future is open and we are participants in making it through our present activities.

This work of fashioning the future is not ours alone. The Spirit of God is guiding us in this task. In fact, the Spirit has already gone ahead of us by inspiring the many good works being done by people of good will around the globe. All we need to do is open ourselves to the energy of the Holy Spirit and let ourselves become part of God’s project of re-creating the earth. There are so many possibilities: working for social justice, promotion and defense of human life and human rights, empowerment of the poor and the disadvantaged, working for a clean environment, advocating for good governance, pursuing peace, caring for the sick and the abandoned, and others. The list is endless. Any of these can occupy a person in his whole lifetime.

A young man was complaining to the Lord, “If you are good, why is there so much misery in the world.? What are you doing about it?” The Lord answered, “I did something. I created you.” Let us remember our mission every time we pray, “Thy kingdom come.”