OC 03/12 Episode 071 Catechism 0541-0546

Catechism 0541-0546

“The kingdom of God is at hand”

541 “Now after John was arrested, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of God, and saying: ‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent, and believe in the gospel.’“ [246] “To carry out the will of the Father Christ inaugurated the kingdom of heaven on earth.” [247] Now the Father’s will is “to raise up men to share in his own divine life”. [248] He does this by gathering men around his Son Jesus Christ. This gathering is the Church, “on earth the seed and beginning of that kingdoms”. [249]

542 Christ stands at the heart of this gathering of men into the “family of God”. By his word, through signs that manifest the reign of God, and by sending out his disciples, Jesus calls all people to come together around him. But above all in the great Paschal mystery – his death on the cross and his Resurrection – he would accomplish the coming of his kingdom. “and I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to myself.” Into this union with Christ all men are called. [250]

The proclamation of the kingdom of God

543 Everyone is called to enter the kingdom. First announced to the children of Israel, this messianic kingdom is intended to accept men of all nations. [251] To enter it, one must first accept Jesus’ word:

The word of the Lord is compared to a seed which is sown in a field; those who hear it with faith and are numbered among the little flock of Christ have truly received the kingdom. Then, by its own power, the seed sprouts and grows until the harvest. [252]

544 The kingdom belongs to the poor and lowly, which means those who have accepted it with humble hearts. Jesus is sent to “preach good news to the poor”; [253] he declares them blessed, for “theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” [254] To them – the “little ones” the Father is pleased to reveal what remains hidden from the wise and the learned. [255] Jesus shares the life of the poor, from the cradle to the cross; he experiences hunger, thirst and privation. [256] Jesus identifies himself with the poor of every kind and makes active love toward them the condition for entering his kingdom. [257]

545 Jesus invites sinners to the table of the kingdom: “I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.” [258] He invites them to that conversion without which one cannot enter the kingdom, but shows them in word and deed his Father’s boundless mercy for them and the vast “joy in heaven over one sinner who repents”. [259] The supreme proof of his love will be the sacrifice of his own life “for the forgiveness of sins”. [260]

546 Jesus’ invitation to enter his kingdom comes in the form of parables, a characteristic feature of his teaching. [261] Through his parables he invites people to the feast of the kingdom, but he also asks for a radical choice: to gain the kingdom, one must give everything. [262] Words are not enough, deeds are required. [263] The parables are like mirrors for man: will he be hard soil or good earth for the word? [264] What use has he made of the talents he has received? [265] Jesus and the presence of the kingdom in this world are secretly at the heart of the parables. One must enter the kingdom, that is, become a disciple of Christ, in order to “know the secrets of the kingdom.  For those who stay “outside”, everything remains enigmatic. [267]

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