Tuesday, 29 December 2009

The Theme of the Kingdom

Thank you to Patricius and to JARay for their interesting comments on my previous post about the Luminous Mystery, “The Proclamation of the Kingdom”. It certainly seems to invite us to mine an extensive Scriptural seam.

JARay thinks of this Mystery in terms of the sending out of the 72 disciples: the ones who “came back rejoicing” at the wonders they had been able to perform through the power the Lord had given them. I like the idea: I am particularly fond of this episode.

For myself, the words that immediately come to mind are “Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand”, spoken first by St John the Baptist, and then, following John’s imprisonment, by Jesus Himself, when He begins His own public ministry with the same words. But then I feel I have to look further: in particular, to those famous passages of gathered-together teaching in St Matthew’s Gospel:

The Sermon on the Mount, dealing with the morality and prayer life of the subjects of the Kingdom. This is the context in which Canon John Udris presents the Mystery, in his beautiful booklet “A New Illustrated Rosary” published – with a most charming and moving selection of mediaeval pictures - by the excellent Family Publications of Oxford.

The Parabolic Discourse, describing various characteristics of the Kingdom’s growth and its preciousness.

The parables attached to the Eschatological Discourse, warning us to live our lives in readiness to be called to account, because the Kingdom has an aspect of futurity as well as a presence among and within us.

And, of course, I think of the tremendous scene in which the Keys of the Kingdom are entrusted to St Peter.

Having written the above, I’m sure I have only touched on the subject – as evidenced by this article in New Advent’s Catholic Encyclopedia. All in all, there is so much to this Mystery – so different from all the others - that I feel I may benefit from meditating on just one or two aspects of it each time it is prayed.

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