As we come to the end of the liturgical year tomorrow, today’s Gospel finds Jesus instructing us about the reign of God. The reign of God, or the “kingdom of heaven” as it is often translated, stands out as a theme of all three synoptic Gospels (Matthew, Mark, and Luke). At the start of his public life Jesus had proclaimed that the reign of God was at hand in him.
By the reign (or rule) of God is meant God’s saving power at work in the world now through Jesus that will, at the end of time, completely triumph over the forces of sin and death and usher in the world of a transformed humanity. But this is a long process that faces much opposition and stretches out to the end of the world.
Daily we pray in the Our Father “Thy kingdom come,” and “thy will be done” which comes to the same thing. As we approach Advent we can ask the Lord to reveal to us where in our lives he does not yet reign and to give us the grace to be open to his saving power.
—Fr. Bob Bireley, SJ, is a member of the St. Camillus Jesuit Community in Wauwatosa, WI.