Eighth Reflection

Church and Kingdom of God

The central message of Jesus was the proclamation of the Kingdom of God. It was the inward fire that prompted him (Luke 12:49). Thus the Kingdom of God is also the destination we strive for.
The Second Vatican Council expresses the mission of the church in the following way: „While helping the world and receiving many benefits from it, the Church has a single intention: that God`s kingdom may come, and that the salvation of the whole human race may come to pass“. (Gaudium et spes 45)

The church is not to be equated with God`s kingdom, but the message of the loving and forgiving God needs to be experienced through her. “Being church means being God`s people, in accordance with the great plan of his fatherly love. This means that we are to be God`s leaven in the midst of humanity. It means proclaiming and bringing God`s salvation into our world, which often goes astray and needs to be encouraged, given hope and strengthened on the way. The church must be a place of mercy freely given, where everyone can fell welcomed, loved, forgiven und encouraged to live the good life of the Gospel.“ (Evangelii Gaudium 114)

The realization of God`s kingdom expresses a never ending commitment to work for justice and peace, a peace that includes the whole of creation. It means to cooperate to build a design of the human family and its history, i.e. corresponding to the biblical image of a human being. The nature of God`s kingdom is the community of all people, people among themselves and with God.

The anticipation of God`s kingdom has to awaken us to our responsibility for shaping this earth. The challenges of our times are that we must have a courageous commitment and a lived solidarity, not just an inactive watching.
It is the kingdom of God that creates the church and keeps it alive. The church needs to be a visible sign of this kingdom of God. It does not mean being successful, because success is not the language of God. It is the word faithfulness that stands for God. If we keep in mind that we are on the way on His behalf, we are not so easily discouraged. It is God`s mission not ours that we are on the way for. We are ministers on behalf of Christ.

If we really want to understand God`s kingdom, we cannot draw a dividing line between holy and profane. The Kingdom of God means that everything has to do with God. There is no godless place.

Just for reflection:

What is my image of church? When and where have I become aware that there are no godless places?