UCAN Spirituality Catholic Church News

Proclaiming the Reign of God

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Thomas Gumbleton

First of all, let me remind you that the reign of God isn’t a place. Sometimes we talk about the reign of God as the kingdom of heaven, and that’s an appropriate phrase, but it gives us the wrong idea – we think of a place right away.

The reign of God is the dynamic rule of God’s saving love. That’s what we mean by the reign of God, what Jesus meant by it – that we begin to live, all of us and all of creation, entering into this rule of God’s love, that infinite love of God that is poured forth upon every one of us without our ever earning it.

We’re loved into being by God, and Jesus says the reign of God happens when every one of us and all of creation begins to live according to the way of God’s saving love….

I’m sure every one of us can begin to think of ways in my individual life where if I began to act according to the way of Jesus, I could break a cycle of violence, a cycle of hatred, and begin that dynamic of love….

Remember how we spoke about the first disciples, the early Christians? Their enemies and those around them said, “See how the Christians love one another.” They were noticed because they reached out in love.

We might ask ourselves, How much have we noticed? Not that we want notice for our own benefit and to be praised, but rather that we’re showing people around us and the world around us that God is love, that the reign of God is a dynamic reign of love.

We ought to be visible in that way. We ought to be working as a community of disciples of Jesus, against violence, against war, against hatred, and be seen and make a difference.

Which side do you think Jesus would be on? Didn’t he always go with the poor? In fact, he was criticized; he welcomed the poor to his table. He went and was with them. Where would Jesus be now? How would he be trying to transform this world in which we live in order that everyone could have a full human life?

When you pray, don’t just be using a lot of words. Let God’s spirit begin to speak in you, and that spirit will speak to you, and that spirit will speak through you and perhaps guide you then, in making the reign of God become a reality in our world.