We often hear cries of: “the world is ending!” This scare tactic is often meant to stir us to action in one regard or another. Predictions of doom seem to be a common way for people to sway public opinion and get a desired response from the crowd. Yet for Christians the end of this world is not a prophesy of doom but a fulfillment of God’s promise. The end of this world of sin is the beginning of the Kingdom of God.
We can speak of the coming of God’s kingdom with the same call to conversion as above, just as St. Paul said to the Corinthians: “the time is running out.” Paul is encouraging them to repent from their sins and prepare their hearts to receive Christ Jesus so that they will not miss out on the joys of heaven. Doom can easily be avoided if we live for heaven instead of living for the passing things of this world.
We also speak of the coming of the Kingdom in order to inspire hope. This is what Jesus did in preaching the Gospel in Galilee and Judea. Instead of pointing to some future doom, Jesus points to the present moment: “This is the time of fulfillment. The kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel.” Jesus’ message is the realization of the covenant promises of God. God has provided the Savior He promised; Jesus is at hand—literally close enough for them to touch! The presence of Jesus among us means the Kingdom has already begun. The King is present, all we have to do is choose to join Him.
Let us take this week’s readings as encouragement to reexamine our lives in relationship to Jesus. Is there something that I’m living for now that is not part of the Kingdom of God, some sin or disordered desire that draws me away from Christ and His promises? Is there something in my life that I need to surrender to God and place at Christ’s service—some gift that God has given me for the spread of His Kingdom? Or do I simply need the encouragement of remembering the promises of God and the closeness of Jesus to me as I am already striving to live as a worthy subject of so great a King? May the Holy Spirit remind us of our Heavenly goal and the present Kingship of Jesus Christ in our lives.