A Spoken Women Article
By: Allison Ramirez
I often spiral into frustration over the lack of humanity within our governments today. From the very people who should be advocating for, protecting, and leading their people toward truth, goodness, and respect, instead, we find hypocrisy, greed, corruption within the people who spearhead our “worldly kingdoms” of authority.
I have come to the point where I don’t trust even one small thing I hear on the news or media outlets.
I despise our politicians and view them with both disgust and distrust as I watch countless new anti-God, anti-truth laws and mandates roll out in the name of freedom and justice. How much deeper could our worldly kingdoms plummet?
But then, as I find myself saddened over the anger in my heart over all that is wrong with the kingdoms of our world, I am reminded of the proclamation of the kingdom of God within Scripture and emphasized within the third luminous mystery of the Rosary. The Kingdom of God is mentioned 122 times in the Bible and is one of the primary messages of Jesus’ teachings.
Specifically, this kingdom of God is not arbitrary or overbearing, but according to author Tim Gray in The Luminous Mysteries: Biblical Reflections on the Life of Christ, “the kingdom of God is not some abstract concept or doctrine, but above all, a person, with the face and name of Jesus” (66). Not only is God’s Kingdom revealed in Jesus, but “to enter into the life of the kingdom is to enter into the life of Christ” (66). Jesus models for us by his life and teachings the reality of the kingdom of God not only in heaven, but here on Earth.
Jesus establishes this kingdom by leading us by his example and calling all to conversation, a metanoia
or transformation of thinking that leads to repentance from old ways and the ultimate forgiveness of those sins and a reconciling not only to God through Jesus, but to the Church. Metanoia means to change one’s life as a result from penitence and spiritual conversion.
St. John Paul II tells us that “the kingdom cannot be detached either from Christ or from the Church” (70). The Church is the Kingdom of a loving God, Abba. We find this in the prayer the Lord himself has given us when we pray the familiar words: “Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name, thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on Earth as it is in heaven.”
The establishment of God’s kingdom here on Earth is the desire of Abba, a heavenly father whose love can be seen perfectly in Jesus. But in order to bear fruit in the kingdom of the Church, to build it up and avoid falling along the way, we must consider how we can persevere in our dedication to Christ and his Church in the face of our ignorance, hardships, and the cares of the world.
It has been a much needed reminder for me when my own frustrations over present day kingdom gets in the way of a loving heart rooted in metanoia:
my continual learning, perseverance and re-prioritizing Jesus and his Church amidst all that I see to be broken within society. Like the varying seeds that fall on the path, rocky ground, and thorns, in Jesus’ parable of the sower, I must daily sow seeds of gentleness, hopefulness, and love within Jesus’ Church in the face of the set-backs and opposition I perceive in our modern-day secular leadership.
If I get so caught up in the cares of the world, even if those be good cares, I can see my heart succumbing to birds, the scorching sun, and fields of thorns, revealing themselves as criticism, bitterness, and resentment in my heart that I let blot out the beauty of God’s kingdom in my midst. I might not be able to do much to change the way our worldly kingdoms are going, but I can do much to change the condition of my heart and my mind. I can lean into the heavenly kingdom on earth within my home and within my church, even as the earthly kingdoms loom loud. Indeed, I can bring the kingdom of love with me wherever I go.
The Kingdom of God was revealed to us in Jesus and rooted in our world within the Church. To truly enter into the Kingdom that God gives to us, I must turn to Jesus in the scriptures, seeking out the treasures of truth within to transform my thinking toward gratitude and small steps toward greater love. Church father, Origen tells us: “If we want to experience that closeness with Jesus—to hear him speak to us in his own house [the church] – let us also become his friends” (79).
How better to become his friend than in meeting Him within the scriptures of the sacred word and in the embrace of the sacraments. Jesus is present within our Church of broken people, both those who consider themselves within and without that Church.