I have been thinking about the Reign of God and our participation in helping it to come about for the last couple of weeks. Some of us are used to thinking about the Kingdom, or Reign of God, as referring only to the end time, to eternal life. Indeed, the fullness of God’s reign lives in the future.
However, when we pray this section of the Lord’s Prayer: “Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven,” we are asking that we may have the faith and the courage to work toward the fullness of the reign – with Jesus and with the help of the Holy Spirit. **
What might be some of the manifestations of this moral and spiritual endeavor?
Every time we seek unity over division
Every time we seek understanding over prejudice
Every time we fight against stereotyping people
Every time we presume good will on the part of those with whom we disagree
Every time we promote love over hate
Every time we choose compassion over intolerance
Every time we choose honesty over dishonesty
Every time we choose integrity over dishonor
Every time we choose mercy over condemnation
Back to the Lord’s Prayer. It begins with the word, “Our” – “Our Father.” Not ‘my father’ (though this is true as well). Jesus puts the emphasis on our communal life.
How we relate with one another, as sisters and brothers of God’s family.
In sum, our role in building the Kingdom is essential. An honest appraisal of our strengths and weaknesses, our gifts and talents, helps us to make wise decisions that help further the goals of our Creator. Any attitude or behavior that goes against, or in opposition to the manifestations above, is not coming from the Good Spirit, but from the Evil one. This “one” sows disunity, suspicion, and discord.
Let us, be we in business or politics or any walk of life heed the words of St. Paul to “live as children of the light, not of the darkness” (Ephesians 5:8).
** See the last chapter in my book, “Beatitudes for the Workplace,” for a fuller of the Reign of God.
Fr. Max Oliva, S.J.
I have already heard from some of the readers of this month’s newsletter. Here is one that points towards Election Day.
“We further the Reign of God:
Every time we vote for a candidate known for promoting social justice, especially for the economically poor.
Every time we speak out and work for the rights of any marginalized group.
Every time we show ecological respect for our “common home.”
Submitted by Pete Henriot, S.J.