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Everlasting Kingdom

Thoughts for Lent and Easter

Carlos Gonzalez

Available languages: español

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  • Carolee Uits

    Well put - with an addition: we need not only to grow in such Christianity where we live, but to go beyond the place we feel most comfortable and those people we know and are supported by. This beyond-ness is an invintation into the world of the poorest of the poor, the absolute stranger, the different, odd, and threatening. That means Christians are called to the dimension of being a global citizen involved in the farthest and most pained reaches of humanity. We cannot be all places and be involved with all people everywhere as individuals but we can, based on God's grace and the Holy Spirit's inner urgings, self-involve by supporting those who are in those global outreach positions, risk a trip into the farthest corners of the human experience, and find in the stranger not only a neighbor, but a brother and sister whom Jesus has called us to concretely love by our actions and involvement as humble learner and co-participant in their places and worlds. Such a place may be geographically close or in the farthest reaches of the world. Jesus is our best example of a life so lived. God Bless us all on such a journey into the resulting new deaths and resurrections!

During Lent, we reflect on how Christ’s suffering, death and resurrection marked the beginning of a new social order and the start of an era of spiritual and moral significance for humankind. Prayer and penance each year in preparation for Easter is important; but more important still is that we believe that the Resurrected One lives today. Every child, every young person, every adult who suffers and dies of hunger, disease, violence or injustice, is the Crucified crying out for a new way, a kingdom opposed to all the perversion and misery of a world gone far off course.

Far too many Christians consider Jesus’ suffering and death to be atonement for only their faults and weaknesses. They attribute their personal salvation and their entrance into heaven to it. But where is the longing for the coming of God’s kingdom for all people, and how many of us committed Christians are ready to suffer persecution and death for Christ's sake here on earth for the sake of this cause?

In the Gospels, Jesus tells us what we need to do: I assure you that whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child will never enter it (Mk 10:15; Mt 18:3; Lk 18:17). For an adult to be like a child means sacrifice, involving prayer and complete surrender. Yet it can be achieved, even in a world full of perversion and suffering. Again he says: I am telling you the truth: no one can see the kingdom of God without being born again (Jn 3 :3). We must start completely new to even be able to see God’s kingdom. Only then we can begin to work for it.

This work is what Christ is calling us to do through his death and resurrection. Through it, we will come to understand that the mystery of his death and resurrection is redemption, a source of love, forgiveness and grace to all creation; it is God’s Spirit opening the doors of his kingdom both in heaven and here on earth; a kingdom that seeks to transform and give eternal life to all men; a kingdom of love, peace and justice, inviting us to share and gather in communion with Christ. (Mt 6:33, Mk 10:17-27). It is through this living and sharing in unity together with the Lord that he opens the way to the kingdom of God here on earth.

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