7 August, Sunday
Readings: Wis 18:6-9; Ps 33:1, 12, 18-19, 20, 22; Heb 11:1-2, 8-19; Lk 12:32-48
JESUS IS THE KINGDOM OF GOD
We have the words of assurance of the Kingdom of God: “Do not be afraid, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom” (Lk 12:32). Kingdom of God is the message of Jesus. At the beginning of his public ministry, Jesus came to Galilee, proclaiming the Good News of God saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the Kingdom of God has come near; repent, and believe in the good news” (Mk 1:14-15). Jesus never gives a definition to the Kingdom; it could not be defined.
Kingdom is the presence of God and love of God for men and communion of men with God. Jesus often speaks of the Kingdom in parables and metaphors. Jesus announces the Kingdom with word and action (miracles).
Kingdom of God has two aspects: it is a real in present, that is this life; and Kingdom is already present and future, that is, it will come in future; ‘Thy Kingdom come’ as we pray in ‘Our Father’; it is an eschatological aspect. Kingdom is attached to the person of JESUS; that is, JESUS is the KINGDOM. Once Jesus was asked by the Pharisees when the Kingdom of God was coming, and He answered, “The kingdom of God is not coming with things that can be observed; nor will they say, ‘Look here it is!’ or ‘There it is!’ for, in fact, the kingdom of God is among you” (Lk 17:20-21). “The kingdom of God is among you” means it is now PRESENT here, that is, JESUS is the KINGDOM; presence of Jesus is the Kingdom of God.
The perspective of Jesus regarding the Kingdom of God is that the future is here; the salvation is here and will be in future too. This perspective scandalized the Jews, because they divide the time into two: the first half is the present and the second is future which is final and the end of the time.
In order to inherit this kingdom, Jesus tells, “Sell your possessions and give alms” (Lk 12:33), that is to become poor; for, “Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God (Lk 6:20). To the young rich man who asked Jesus, “Teacher, what good must I do to have eternal life?” Jesus replied, “If you wish to be perfect , go, sell your possessions and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven, then come, follow me” (Mt 19:16, 21).
We need to be vigilant (Lk 12:35-48). Jesus explains about the vigilance for the coming of the Kingdom through three pericopes seen from the relationship between servants and master: Vigilance of servants and master (Lk 12:36-40); the attitude of the servants looking forward to their mater’s return (112:35-38); the attitude of the master who does not know the precise hour the thief would come (12:39-40); it is an eschatological vigilance that the Son of man is coming at an unexpected hour. And the faithful and wise servant (Lk 12:41-46); the attitude of the faithful and wise servant who cares about his mission; again the emphasis is on the unexpected return of the master, and thus it is about the unexpected return of the day of the Lord or the kingdom. Are we prepared ourselves to receive this Kingdom in the person of Jesus, here and now?
We need to be accountable for the responsibility entrusted by God (Lk 12 47-48); those who receive a greater responsibility must fulfil their task with greater responsibility. We are all “strangers and pilgrims on this earth” (Heb 11:13). Let us not have attachments of the things of this world, but the things of the heavenly kingdom where our true treasures are. “Make purses for yourselves that do not wear out, an unfailing treasure in heaven, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Lk 12:34).
We need to have faith. The meaning of faith is expressed in today’s second reading. Faith is certainty, it is assurance and confidence. “Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen” (Heb 11:1). Faith is taking a step into the unknown and trusting in God. Faith of Abraham is the example for us; he trusted God leaving his ancestral land and went to the land where God would begin a new people (Promised Land). If our hope is the coming of the kingdom of God (New Promised Land), then we should wait it with assurance believing that we shall inherit the kingdom.
We need to be righteous; for the righteous shall be delivered (Wis 18:7). The unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God; to inherit the kingdom, we need to be washed, to be sanctified, to be justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God (1 Cor 6:9-11; see also Eph 5:5; Gal 5:19-21); one is to be born in water and spirit to enter into the kingdom of God (Jn 3:5). Who else can enter the kingdom of God? Jesus says, “Not everyone who says to me, Lord, Lord will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven” (Mt 7:21).
Promise: Let us trust in the assuring words of Jesus, “Do not be afraid, little flock”; let us be vigilant and be faithful to God to inherit the eternal promise of the kingdom of God, the New Promised Land.