Wednesday, June 20, 2012

The Church is the Kingdom of God

Praised be Jesus, Mary, and Joseph!

The parables today speak of the Kingdom of God. It would be good to make clear at the beginning what this kingdom really is. Many people have strange ideas of what the “kingdom” refers to. The catechism of the Church says that the Kingdom of God is the “gathering” of men around Jesus so that they may share in his own Divine life. “This gathering is the Church, ‘on earth, the seed and beginning of that Kingdom.’” (CCC, 541) We can only understand the parables if we keep in mind that Christ was talking about the Church which he established on earth as the beginning of the Kingdom of God. Looking at the history of the Church, we begin to see how, like a mustard seed, she began as a small community of disciples and later on grew into an immense family made up of people coming from the 4 corners of the world. Indeed, what once was the smallest of seeds is now “the largest of plants that puts forth large branches, so that birds of the sky can dwell in its shade.” This is why the Church of Christ is called “Catholic”. The Catechism says: “The word ‘catholic’ means ‘universal’, in the sense of ‘according to the totality’ or ‘in keeping with the whole’. 

The Church is catholic in a double sense: 1st, the Church is catholic because Christ is present in her. ‘Where there is Christ Jesus, there is the Catholic Church.’ In her subsists the fullness of Christ’s Body united with its head; this implies that she receives from him ‘the fullness of the means of salvation’ which he has willed: correct and complete confession of faith, full sacramental life, and ordained ministry in apostolic succession. The Church was, in this fundamental sense, catholic on the day of Pentecost, and will always be so until the day of the Parousia.” (CCC, 830)

“Secondly, the Church is catholic because she has been sent out by Christ on a mission to the whole of the human race: all men are called to belong to the new People of God. This People, therefore, while remaining one and only one, is to be spread throughout the whole world and to all ages in order that the design of God’s will may be fulfilled: he made human nature one in the beginning and has decreed that all his children who were scattered should be finally gathered as one…The characteristic of universality which adorns the People of God is a gift from the Lord himself whereby the Catholic Church ceaselessly and efficaciously seeks for the return of all humanity and all its goods, under Christ the Head in the unity of his Spirit.” (CCC, 831)

Apparently, the world is hungry for unity. Speaking of “one world” is fashionable today. But it must be said that the unity of “one world” can only be possible under Christ who draws all people to himself. Any unity without him is artificial and cannot last. The true unification of all creation will be made in and only in Christ. “Christ stands at the heart of this gathering of men into the ‘family of God.’” (CCC, 542) And he has begun gathering the scattered children of God.  That gathering is called the “Catholic Church.” One world…One Catholic Church.

Jesus, I trust in you. O Mary conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee!

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