December 3, 2021

Guest Column / Richard Etienne

Let’s join in the movement to build the kingdom of God

Richard EtienneI recently heard a wonderful homily on the kingdom of God, about which Jesus often preached.

The homilist explained that the kingdom is not only the eternal goal of heaven. He spoke about how this kingdom was more like a movement than a place.

Because of my age, I am familiar with the women’s movement, which picked up speed when I was at an impressionable age in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s.

Similarly, I remember the movement to end racial segregation from a similar time in my life.

But this movement is quite different. It has no boundaries in place or time. It started at the time that Jesus walked the dusty roads around the Sea of Galilee and will most likely continue far beyond the moment when my spirit has left its earthly existence.

The kingdom of God movement involves every baptized person who chooses to exercise their baptismal right to be a change agent in the world in which he or she lives. It means assisting God in the effort to bring about a more just society in a world filled with injustices. It means bringing mercy into any situation where a person sees it is needed.

And as St. Francis of Assisi taught: it means bringing peace where there is conflict. And it encompasses so much more.

As we read in the Gospel of Luke, we hear Jesus say, “The kingdom of God cannot be observed, and no one will announce, ‘Look, here it is,’ or ‘There it is.’ For behold, the kingdom of God is among you” (Lk 17:20-21).

It is our task as Catholic Christians to strive to understand what the kingdom of God entails as well as how to apply it in each situation that we encounter on our pilgrimage through life.

What is your understanding of the kingdom of God? How has it changed as you have matured in your faith? What is God calling you to do at this specific time in the situation he has placed you? It may be worth reflecting upon in a quiet moment.

Why not take time to ponder the role of the kingdom of God in your life? What next step is God calling you to take?

(Richard Etienne has a degree in theology from Saint Meinrad Seminary and School of Theology in St. Meinrad and resides in Newburgh, Ind.)

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