Thirty-second Sunday in Ordinary Time: “Walking in Christ's Kingdom”
We are here to know God and to make Him known. This is our Diocesan Mission Statement. In everything we do, it is geared towards this statement.
Today is the Feast of Christ the King. We celebrate His kingship; we declare the Lord as King! The first thing that Jesus said when He started His ministry was, “Repent!” because the Kingdom is at hand. The Kingdom is here! Repentance means to change your mind and to renew it. The Kingdom is at our grasp and within our reach. It is not out there, up in the sky but right here! ! The time has come to renew ourselves in preparation. It doesn’t mean that we become more spiritual or more religious although we may do that. It doesn’t mean that we embrace a new morality although it may entail this, too. We change; we renew our mind in such a way that it changes the course of our lives.
We repent, we respond to that fact that Jesus’ kingdom has arrived. It is here. We need to get the Kingdom right. The kingdom of God is the government of God; it is the rule, the reign of God here. The kingdom of heaven is not high in the sky. The kingdom of heaven is not ethereal. It is not out there, but right here. It has come here. It is not the kingdom in heaven, but the kingdom from heaven.
Jesus said, “My kingdom is not of this world.” World has two meanings in the Bible: one, creation; and second, the world's system or the corrupt system. We are not of this world, but we are in this world because this is our Father’s world and His kingdom is sitting over here. The kingdom is not out of touch of reality. It is not concerned with earthly human affairs, of justice and of peace. God created us human and He is so concerned with earthly human affairs, the challenges we face and what we experience.
Jesus came to establish the kingdom of God here! It is breaking-in into our world to pervade this world. We have a new world order. The kingdom of God is taking over this world so that the kingdoms of this world will become the kingdoms of God. We are looking for a new heaven and a new earth where righteousness dwells. We look for the resurrection of the death and the life of the world to come where there is fullness. This is the gospel of the Kingdom; the good news.
Our prayer has been answered, that is, “Thy kingdom, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” Our prayer is not to get us out of the world. Our prayer is, “Save us” by replacing the corrupt system with righteousness, joy, and peace. This is what the world would be like if Jesus were the King of nations. What would Jesus do? What would He prioritize? His kingdom is of peace and it heals people and gives comfort to those who are hopeless and gives courage to those who are in fear.
In God's kingdom, everything is equal. God is establishing His reign despite the presence of Rome, of Caesar or superpowers. His rule and reign is being established here through what Jesus had been doing. Every time Jesus forgave, every time He healed the sick, every time He fed, every time He clothed the naked and He welcomed the unworthy and the needy, God is establishing His kingdom here. He is implementing and furthering the Kingdom here. Jesus said, “Anyone that has seen Him has seen what the kingdom of God is like.”
For God so loved world that He sent His Son into it to save the world from its fallen order that is destroying it and its beauty, so that all of us may have abundant life or eternal life. The gospel is not about going to heaven when we die. The good news is that we are not leaving this world, but doing what Jesus did so that this will be heaven. Heaven is coming here and this is the good news! We have a new leader whose administration is different from the earthly leader that is running the world.
Jesus is now in-charge! Jesus is Lord and we follow His ways. Caesar is no longer lord. The ways of the world that is creating fear, that takes advantage of the weak and poor will not reign. Jesus is King and His kingdom will replace these with righteousness, with peace, and joy. There will be the lifting of those who have fallen. It is not about hatred, exclusion, but inviting those who are unworthy. This is the resurrection from the dead and life on the new earth where Jesus reigns.
We don’t have to wait for this kingdom where Jesus reigns. Jesus has started His kingdom in you and me. The kingdom of God has started in us. We are blessed to have heard the good news, so that we can preach it so the glory of the Lord and His kingdom covers the whole earth. He is seen in our everyday lives. He is not just a spiritual Lord. He is not just a Lord that we worship on Sunday. He is a sector of our affairs. He is not one department of our lives. Jesus is one hundred percent present in our lives. His kingdom starts with us and spreads to whatever we touch and whoever we meet.
We cannot live in the kingdom of God with the old self-centered system of the world. We cannot put new wine in old wineskins. We cannot live in the kingdom of God with our old ways because we will burst! Every time we do what Jesus does, we hasten the coming of the fullness of His Kingdom and salvation gets nearer than when we first believed. The kingdom of God is here but we can act as if it is not here. We cannot live contrary to it and we will be wasting our time and effort and energy because this world is destined to be taken over fully by the kingdom of God. This is so that we don’t alienate people, we don’t put them down because when we don’t accept them, when we hate them, when we classify ourselves as “us and them” then, we oppose the kingdom of God and we become out of place.
The kingdom of God is here and it starts with repentance, a change of heart, and to reject the ways of Caesar. Pilate’s thinking of Jesus is, “I am better and higher than You. I have the authority and power to destroy or to release You. You bow down to me.” Jesus said, “My kingdom is not like that. If My kingdom were of this world, then My servants (that is you and I) would justify violence, fight, steal, kill, destroy, intimidate and take advantage of people. But My kingdom is not like this. Reject this and be born again!” To be born again is not to bow down our heads and pray the sinner’s prayer, but to renew our minds and changing it. We need to be born from above. We need to relearn, rethink, and renew our mind to what the kingdom of God is all about.
What is the kingdom of God for us? Is it just going to Mass every Sunday? Is it just fulfilling our ministry in Church? Or is it making Jesus King of all of the aspects of our lives? We need to be born again and consider our old ways as rubbish and start with a clean state. Unless we are born again, the kingdom of God may be all around us but we will not see it. We will not experience it.
The Scribe asked Jesus about what is the most important commandment and Jesus talked about the Summary of the Law, and when the Scribe wisely said that there nothing is more important than the offering and sacrifice than the greatest commandment, Jesus told him that he is not far from the kingdom of God.
Love! Pursue peace and the building up of each other. Jesus who reigns in this kingdom will reign in peace. Psalm 46 says, “The Prince of peace breaks bow, cuts spear in two, burns chariots.” Jesus doesn’t want implements of war because He wants peace and there will be no end to the increase of His kingdom of peace. He makes the enemy ever revengeful to cease. If we have hatred in our hearts, do not wait for the Lord to stop us. Renew our mind toward this and walk toward this accordingly.
In the kingdom of God, the sick is healed; sinners are forgiven; the rejected are restored and there is enough provisions for everyone. There is equality. Do not belittle the poor or think that we are better than others. In the kingdom of God, the mountains and the hills will be brought low and the valleys will be exalted so that everyone is equal. When everyone is equal, then, the Lord shall come.
We are not perfect but I am joyful, I am blessed when I see snapshots and thumbnails of the kingdom of God in Cathedral of the King, in the Diocesan Parishes, in relationships, in ministries, and in activities where people are helping each other. The good news is that the kingdom of God is here where lives are restored. God gives us the privilege to participate in its work so continue to build it.
My encouragement to you is: don’t grow weary. Continue to establish and to further Christ’s rule and reign by loving, forgiving, giving comfort and hope, feeding, welcoming the unworthy and the needs, pursing things which makes for peace and the building up of brothers. This is because this is the way it is in the kingdom of our God!