Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Andrew M. Greenwell, Esq.

3/4/2012 (3 years ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

The Cross is the sign of the kingdom of Christ

The Kingdom of God is a strange kingdom whose king finds his earthly manifestation not on a throne, with gold crown, and lush raiment.  What kind of king is it whose glory is to be nailed to a cross--a cross which St. John Eudes called the thronus amoris igneus, the wooden throne of love--with a crown of thorns, essentially disrobed and naked, and a sign, intended to be mocking, but which, ironically, declares his hidden kingship in the three sacred languages, Latin, Greek, and Hebrew.

Highlights

By Andrew M. Greenwell, Esq.

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

3/4/2012 (3 years ago)

Published in Living Faith

Keywords: Catholic Social Doctrine, Social Reign of Christ, Kingdom of God.Dominus Jesu, Andrew M. Greenwell, Esq.


CORPUS CHRISTI, TX (Catholic Online) - In the mind of his disciples, Jesus was. and is. and ever shall be King. That is why for centuries we have prayed in the Te Deum:

You are the King of Glory: O Christ.
When you had overcome the sharpness of death:
you did open the Kingdom of Heaven to all believers.

But Jesus is not an ordinary King with an ordinary kingdom.  Christ's kingdom is a kingdom not of this world. (John 18:36)  It is an invisible, spiritual, internal, eternal one--though it is among us, about us, around us, and within us in time until the end of time when it would reach its fulfillment.  "The coming of the kingdom of God cannot be observed," Jesus told the Pharisees, "and no one will announce, 'Look, here it is,' or, 'There it is.' For behold, the kingdom of God is among you." (Luke 17:20-21)

It is a strange kingdom whose king finds his earthly manifestation not on a throne, with gold crown, and lush raiment.  What kind of king is it whose glory is to be nailed to a cross--a cross which St. John Eudes called the thronus amoris igneus, the wooden throne of love--with a crown of thorns, essentially disrobed and naked, and a sign, intended to be mocking, but which, ironically, declares his hidden kingship in the three sacred languages, Latin, Greek, and Hebrew.

The kingdom of God, St. Paul further explains, "is not a matter of food and drink."  Rather, he tells us, it is a matter of "righteousness, peace, and joy in the holy Spirit." (Rom. 14:17)  This means it is a moral, and even more importantly, a spiritual and supernatural reality, and not simply a bodily, temporal, or social one.  It is not something flesh and blood will inherit, like some sort of human realm or human property. (1 Cor. 15:50)  It is not just talk, vain hope, empty words, since there is a real power behind it. (1 Cor. 4:20) 

Mere words don't allow us admittance; it requires something internal--repentance, a conversion, a "re-turn" to God--and a fixed intention on only doing the will of God the Father who is in heaven. (Matt. 7:21)  This means that keeping the commandments and teaching others to keep the commandments is what this kingdom is all about. (Matt:5:19)  It is a secret, a mystery, the knowledge of which has been imparted to Christ's intimates, (Mark 4:11; Luke 8:10) and yet one which must be proclaimed to the world.

But what a precious secret which is to be proclaimed to the world and, as it were, made unsecret!  It is like a field one discovers contains treasure, and one covers it up, sells all he has, and buys it, so as to become rich in the bargain. (Matt. 13:44)  It is the pearl of great price, one for which the spiritual merchant will sell all he has to acquire. (Matt. 13:46)

And yet that secret which is to be unsecreted-proclaimed from the housetops and shown from the hills-is silent, inexplicable, marvelous, and has an organic tendency to grow and bear fruit.  And so the kingdom of God is like the mystery of the seed sown by a farmer, which grows, whether tended or not, and which ultimately reaps a huge harvest.  It is like a mustard seed, a tiny seed, but one which grows into a huge tree. It is like yeast which is mixed with dough and which makes it rise. (Mark 4:26-32; Luke 13:19-21)

In a sense, the kingdom of God was present in Christ, and is Christ, since he drove out demons and explained that this was a sign that the kingdom of God had come to us. (Matt. 12:28; Luke 11:20)  It, in fact, is also mysteriously, intimately, and indissolubly linked to Christ's Church, which is Christ's body, "the kingdom of Christ now present in mystery," (VII, Lumen gentium, No. 3), the "seed and the beginning of that kingdom," (CCC § 768 quoting LG, No. 5), a "sign and instrument of the kingdom." (Dominus Iesus, No. 18) 

"In fact, the kingdom of God which we know from revelation, 'cannot be detached either from Christ or from the Church . . . yet while remaining distinct from Christ and the kingdom, the Church is indissolubly united to both." (Dominus Iesus, 18) There is a "unicity" in the "relationship which Christ and the Church have with the kingdom of God." (Dominus Iesus, No. 19)  Ubi Christus, ibi ecclesia.

Because this kingdom exists with us in the Church, so the good wheat grow with the tares in the kingdom's field, there is good fish and bad fish in the kingdom's net, which might confuse us or cause scandal. (Matt. 13:24-30, 47-49)  We must however remain faithful to Christ and his Church, as those who reject Christ are not part of the kingdom of God. (Matt. 21:43) And yet, it is open to admission for those who, at the last moment of their lives, repent, for the first shall be last, the last shall be first.

The kingdom of God though akin to a secret is something which is preached, something we work for, something for which we suffer and experience hardship, even persecution, and the coming of which we wait. (Acts 8:12; 14:22; 28:31, 2 Thess. 1:5, Col. 4:1, Matt. 5:10; Mark 15:43)  It is something that sometimes requires the sacrifice of leaving home, wife, family. (Luke 18:29)  It is something that requires preparation, wise custody, effort and planning. (Cf. Matt. 25:1-11)  It is something which we enter by baptism, so it is closely linked, if it is not in fact equated, with the Church. (John 3:5)  It is a difficult acquisition, hard to enter, and difficult to stay in. (Mark 10:24) 

We do not inherit it without condition, since we are banned from it if we are wicked. (1 Cor. 6:9-10; Gal. 5:21)  "Now the works of the flesh are obvious: immorality, impurity, licentiousness, idolatry, sorcery, hatreds, rivalry, jealousy, outbursts of fury, acts of selfishness, dissensions, factions, occasions of envy, drinking bouts, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God." (Gal. 5:19-21)

We are therefore to act forcefully to avoid any sin that threatens to keep us from entering it. (Mark 9:47)  The rich whose heart is in their earthly treasure, and who focus upon acquiring riches in gold rather than riches in spirit, have a difficult time accessing the kingdom of God. (Mark 10:23) 

The selfish, self-regarding, self-sufficient rich are not our model.  Rather, we must become innocent, poor in spirit, dependent, receptive, and full of wonder like little children. (Matt. 18:4; 19:14; Mark 10:14; Luke 18:17; Matt. 5:3)  It is something that, once being in, we ought not to look back, for no one who "set his hand to the plow and looks to what was left behind is fit for the kingdom of God." (Luke 9:62)  The keys to that kingdom were given to Peter, the Rock, and it will be with us until the end of time, for the gates of hell cannot prevail against it. (Matt. 16:18-19)  Ubi Petrus, ibi ecclesia.

The kingdom of God, though present even in Christ when he walked on earth, and though present in us even now, and always near (Luke 10:11), will not be fully realized until the end of time, when, according to Scripture, an angel will blow his trumpet and voices in heaven will sing: "The kingdom of the world now belongs to our Lord and to his Anointed, and he will reign forever and ever." (Rev. 11:15; cf. Matt. 8:11; Daniel 2:44; 7:27)  It is something the consummation of which ought devoutly to be wished, and indeed, the Lord taught us to pray to the Lord God, "thy kingdom come," adveniat regnum tuum." (Matt. 6:10; Luke 11:2)  And St. Paul prays impatiently: Lord come! Maranatha! (1 Cor. 16:22)

The Kingdom of God was one that did not rely on violence, even justifiable violence, against properly constituted authority. (John 18:36)  It was not one that relied upon the sword.  It was not one that relied upon "oppressive and despotic power," such as the power "wielded by the rulers of nations." (Compendium, No. 379)  And yet the Kingdom of God offered a huge challenge to the kingdoms of this earth.

The kingdom of God ushered in by Christ was one that operated above and beyond and around and within existing kingdoms and kings, those who claimed, falsely in an absolute sense, to have final authority over, and be the real benefactors (euergetai) of, their people, and thereby approach divinity. (Luke 22:25) Such claims were false because Jesus knew that there was no authority exercised by any magistrate except that it was given to him by God. (John 19:11; cf. Rom 13:1)  Such claims were also false because Jesus knew that the only real benefactor of men is God, the God who feeds the birds of the air who store not goods in barns, and who sees to it that the lilies, who neither labor nor spin, have beautiful raiment.  (Cf. Matt. 6:26-33)

The Kingdom of God operated on a model entirely different from those under which the rulers of the world operated. In a sense it is topsy turvy. The model of leadership was service (diakonos), youth (neôteros), even slavery (doulos). (Luke 22:26; Mark 10:43-44)  In this way, the leader was to imitate Christ, the "Son of Man [who] did not come to be served but to serve and give his life as a ransom for many." (Cf. Mark 10:42-45) That is why the Pope, heir to St. Peter's keys, is called the servant of the servants of God, servus servorum Dei.

-----

Andrew M. Greenwell is an attorney licensed to practice law in Texas, practicing in Corpus Christi, Texas.  He is married with three children.  He maintains a blog entirely devoted to the natural law called Lex Christianorum.  You can contact Andrew at agreenwell@harris-greenwell.com.

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


Copywriter 2015 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for July 2015
Universal:
That political responsibility may be lived at all levels as a high form of charity.
Evangelization: That, amid social inequalities, Latin American Christians may bear witness to love for the poor and contribute to a more fraternal society.



Comments


More Living Faith

Pope Francis beseeches world to give thanks and protect all life on Day of Creation Watch

Image of Pope Francis had announced last month that the Catholic Church would join the Orthodox Church in marking the prayer day September 1 each year.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

During an evening celebration of the World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation, Pope Francis prayed that God would "enlighten the lords of power and money so they would not fall into indifference, but would love the common good, encourage the weak and care ... continue reading


SSPX confessions valid during Jubilee, Pope Francis declares - many pray schism will end Watch

Image of Pope Francis has extended an olive branch to the SSPX. Will our brothers and sisters accept it, or will they perceive it as a slight?

By Marshall Connolly, Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Absolutions granted by priests of the Fraternity of St. Pius X (SSPX) will have the full support of the Pope Francis and the Church during the Extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy. The notice was given by Pope Francis in a special letter in which he announced the ... continue reading


POPE FRANCIS ISSUES EXTRAORDINARY INDULGENCE - Here's how you and others can obtain it Watch

Image of Pope Francis has issued an extraordinary indulgence for all who seek to reconcile with God.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Pope Francis is issuing a Jubilee Indulgence that he hopes will allow people to experience God's mercy and grace. In preparation for the coming Jubilee, Pope Francis has published a letter to Archbishop Rino Fisichella, who heads his council for the promotion of the ... continue reading


Priest asks, what would St. Francis of Assisi do if he were alive today? Watch

Image of Although Pope Francis presided over the celebration, Fr. Cantalamessa (who has been preacher to the Papal Household since St. John Paul II appointed him in 1980) gave the homily.

By Elise Harris, CNA/EWTN News

On the first World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation, the preacher to the papal household said that St. Francis of Assisi is a key model in showing the link between faith in God and care for our common home. Vatican City (CNA/EWTN News) - Saint Francis "is ... continue reading


No school days for working children

Image of

By Tony Magliano

It's that time again when adults take off to celebrate Labor Day, and kids head back to the adventures a new school year. But for millions of children worldwide the adventures of a new school year remain but a dream. Sadly, these children will never learn to read or ... continue reading


Catholic lawmakers asked by Pope to rally for pro-life, immigrants and persecuted Christians Watch

Image of The Holy Father was presented with a document by lawmakers outlining their commitment to promoting life in their respective nations, especially in areas of abortion, Christian persecution, and migration.

By Ann Schneible, CNA/EWTN News

On Sunday, Pope Francis urged Catholic legislators to be protectors of human life, calling them to "be strong" against a throwaway culture marked by Christian persecution, and the rejection of the unborn and migrants. Vatican City (CNA/EWTN News) - The pontiff ... continue reading


Will Pope Francis' visit end in disaster? Residents say organizers don't have their act together Watch

Image of Mayor Nutter unveils the 'I'll Be There' campaign to encourage shop owners to stay open during the papal visit.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Philadelphia residents are stressing over the upcoming Papal visit, and for good reason. Preparations for the visit appear ad hoc and are being poorly communicated to the community, according to locals. LOA ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Will Pope Francis' visit to ... continue reading


Bishop Melki, executed after he refused to convert to Islam in 1915 has been beatified Watch

Image of Pope Francis earlier this month confirmed Bishop Melki's beatification saying he was killed in hatred.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Martyred during the Assyrian Genocide in 1915, Bishop Melki is on the road towards sainthood with his beatification this past weekend. Killed in Gazarta during the sayfo, or "putting to the sword" of Syrians in 1915, he was killed after he refused to convert to ... continue reading


For the first time we can see how BEAUTIFUL the 'real' Saint Rose was. Scientists have reconstruct her likeness Watch

Image of According to the news site Peru Catolico, the researchers said the reconstruction shows she was

By CNA/EWTN News

The face of the first saint of the New World may be better known than ever; thanks to a team of scientists, that has analyzed the skull of Saint Rose of Lima. Lima, Peru (CNA/EWTN News) - Scientists from the University of Saint Martin de Porres in Peru and the ... continue reading


Quest for God is modern world's biggest challenge, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI says Watch

Image of The Ratzinger Schuelerkreis will gather Sept. 28-30 to discuss the theme set them by their former professor.

By Andrea Gagliarducci, CNA/EWTN News

Benedict XVI considers the quest for God to be contemporary society's foremost challenge, according to one of the emeritus Pope's former students, who has organized the annual meeting of Ratzinger's students to discuss that very topic. Vatican City (CNA/EWTN ... continue reading


All Living Faith News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Colossians 1:1-8
1 From Paul, by the will of God an apostle of Christ ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 4:38-44
38 Leaving the synagogue he went to Simon's house. ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for September 2nd, 2015 Image

St. Ingrid of Sweden
September 2: Born in Sknninge, Sweden, in the 13th century, St. Ingrid lived ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter