Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Andrew M. Greenwell, Esq.

3/4/2012 (2 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 (2 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'


© 2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for October 2014
Peace:
That the Lord may grant peace to those parts of the world most battered by war and violence.
World Mission Day: That World Mission Day may rekindle in every believer zeal for carrying the Gospel into all the world.



Comments


More Living Faith

Abolish death penalty and life imprisonment, Pope Francis declares Watch

Image of The Vatican recently eliminated life imprisonment from its own penal code, Pope Francis noted.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Calling for the abolition of the death penalty as well as life imprisonment, Pope Francis soundly denounced what he called a "penal populism." The world's prescribed cure for crime - punishment, should never overtake the pursuit for social justice, he says. LOS ... continue reading


Making a Difference - Newly beatified pope championed justice and peace

Image of Pope Paul VI addresses the UN during his 1965 appeal for peace.

By Tony Magliano

With numerous armed conflicts raging in various parts of the world, and the Vietnam War worsening, Pope Paul VI on Oct. 4, 1965 proclaimed before the U.N. General Assembly: "No more war, war never again. It is peace, peace which must guide the destinies of peoples and ... continue reading


'War does not begin in the battlefield. Wars begin in the heart,' Pope Francis says Watch

Image of

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Speaking at his weekly general audience in St. Peter's Square, Pope Francis addressed the topic of war. With the majority of the world engaged in some sort of battle, and it's up to the individual to realize that major conflicts begin with little things. LOS ... continue reading


Finding the Path to Peace Through Forgiveness Watch

Image of For he (Jesus) is our peace, he made both one and broke down the dividing wall of enmity, through his Flesh, abolishing the law with its commandments and legal claims, that he might create in himself one new person in place of the two, thus establishing peace, and might reconcile both with God, in one Body, through the cross, putting that enmity to death by it. He came and preached peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near, for through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father- St Paul

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

In 1999 I was a part of Project Reconciliation led by a true peacemaker, paralyzed police officer Detective Steven McDonald. This trip was a part of Steven McDonald's mission of preaching peace through forgiveness. It had the goal of helping to heal the wounds ... continue reading


The Parable of the Rich Man: Becoming Rich in What Matters To God

Image of

By Deacon Frederick K. Bartels

What leads to permanent and lasting happiness? As Jesus points out, becoming "rich in what matters to God" is the key. When we place God first, and love our neighbor as another self, we soon begin to experience a perceptible, lasting happiness that is not of this ... continue reading


Pope Paul VI closer to sainthood with beatification by Pope Francis Watch

Image of Pope Paul VI cleaned house, abolishing the pontifical court and simplifying the Curia, the Vatican's administrative arm. Pope Francis is continuing his predecessor's effort to reform to this day.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Pope Francis cleared the process for sainthood for Pope Paul VI after his beatification over the weekend. Pope Paul VI led the Catholic Church through internal reform during a tumultuous time of social and political change before his death in 1978. LOS ANGELES, ... continue reading


We Need Courageous Bishops: Ignatius of Antioch is a Model Watch

Image of Ignatius of Antioch - I know what is to my advantage. At last I am becoming his disciple. May nothing entice me till I happily make my way to Jesus Christ! Fire, cross, struggles with wild beasts, wrenching of bones, mangling of limbs-let them come to me, provided only I make my way to Jesus Christ. I would rather die and come to Jesus Christ than be king over the entire earth. Him I seek who died for us; him I love who rose again because of us.

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

We need Bishops like Ignatius in this new missionary age of the Church. There is a literal assault on marriage and the family in much of the West. Yet, what the Church has to offer on the truth about marriage and the family paves the path to a future of true ... continue reading


Need a chapel? Pope Francis to rent Sistine Chapel for charity Watch

Image of Pope Francis is renting out the Sistine Chapel for charity.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Pope Francis is renting out the Sistine Chapel for charity. The decision marks the first time that the chapel has ever been rented out for charity. It will be used for a private concert hosted by Porsche. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The Vatican has announced ... continue reading


On World Food Day, a reminder of Pope Francis' mission for the Church Watch

Image of It's time to ensure that everybody has enough.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Today is World Food Day and we are all called to do what we can to feed others. This year's World Food Day falls during Pope Francis' 'Week of Action' where all Catholics are called to pray and act to feed the world's hungry. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Today, ... continue reading


Pope Francis: The only thing that counts for Jesus is 'faith working through love' Watch

Image of Pope Francis related former Jesuit leader Father Arrupe's lesson in humility in his recent talk.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Pope Francis reiterated in his morning homily that faith is not about appearances and superficially following Church laws. The Pontiff said that God wants to see a faith that inspires action and is "working in charity" and making sacrifices for others. LOS ... 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, Ephesians 4:7-16
7 On each one of us God's favour has been bestowed in ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 122:1-2, 3-4, 4-5
1 [Song of Ascents Of David] I rejoiced that they ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 13:1-9
1 It was just about this time that some people ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for October 25th, 2014 Image

St. Daria
October 25: There is very little known about them. Chrysanthus was an ... 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