By Lynne Keating
Concerned about the state of the world, I find myself thinking more and more about the kingdom of God, yearning for it and trying to imagine it here on earth. I want that kingdom to come, and I want it to come now. I want every tear to be wiped away. I want to live in the New Jerusalem, promised in today’s Scripture—the Holy City prepared as a bride for her groom—with no more death or mourning or wailing or pain, where God dwells with the human race.
Where is that place? Can I get there from here?
Often, though, I fear the “new.” I like familiarity. I’m timid when it comes to putting myself out there. What if I get hurt? What if I’m wrong? What will “new” mean for me? Still, I want that kingdom. I mean, I really want it.
In today’s Gospel, in answer to my wailing, Jesus gives me a new commandment—to love as He loves. Elsewhere, Scripture tells me love is patient, kind, and merciful. Love is never rude or proud, self-seeking or volatile. Love forgives everything. Everything.
Can I do that, Lord? And if I do love as You love, what will happen then? Will Your kingdom come? How will it come? What will it look like?
Rather than the absence of fear, it has been said that courage is the decision that there is something more important to me than the fear I face. Therefore, I must be able to do it—to love as Jesus loves—or He wouldn’t have asked.
The Third Luminous Mystery of the Rosary is called the Proclamation of the Kingdom. I don’t think I’ve ever really taken those words to heart. This mystery is taken from the Gospel of Matthew in which Jesus speaks of an approach to life which, He says, will bless me and make me happy. It is His sermon on the mount and in it we find the Beatitudes, which I have often dismissed as a list of impossible platitudes. But what if I close my eyes and listen to those words truly and deeply within my heart? Will I get a glimpse of that Kingdom of God? Will I be able to hear the Lord describe it to me, this holy city, this New Jerusalem? Will I hear Him say:
“Those who are not proud but poor in spirit already live in My Kingdom. It is a place where any who mourn are surprised by love and find Me right by their side. Here, the meek and timid are given the help they need, and those who pray for justice and righteousness are granted what they ask. Here, in My Kingdom, those who keep careful watch over their hearts see Me as I am, and the merciful create a gentle world. The peaceful are recognized as My own children, and any who suffer because of My Name have the power to wipe away every tear. My Kingdom is already here. It’s all about love, you see.”
Perhaps that’s what this Year of Mercy is all about—encountering the new commandment and embracing it. And rather than fearing the “new” as if it was a crashing wave, I’ll swim out to meet it and dive in—right into the Kingdom of God.
“Perhaps life is a wave of astonishment, a wave of height and depth; Don’t ever be afraid!” —Saint John Paul II
Spend some time today in the Kingdom of God.
About the Author:
Author and blogger, Lynne Keating, lectors and teaches the Bible to CCD students at Saint John the Beloved Parish in Wilmington, Delaware. Convinced that this is one of the most exciting and important times in salvation history, her writing encourages all people to recognize and rejoice in God’s self-offering love, revealed more and more through the actions of His people. She blogs at Fellowship of the Lamb.