Saturday, January 24, 2009

Celebrate the Inauguration: "The kingdom is at hand"

In our liturgical life this Sunday we celebrate the "inauguration" - of the Kingdom.

" 'Now after John was arrested, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of God, and saying :"The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent, and believe in the gospel." '(Mark 1:14-15) 'To carry out the will of the Father Christ inaugurated the kingdom of heaven on earth.' (Lumen Gentium 3) Now the Father's will is 'to raise up men to share in his own divine life.' (LG 2) He does this by gathering men around his Son Jesus Christ. This gathering is the Church, 'on earth the seed and beginning of that kingdom.' (Lumen Gentium 5)" (CCC 541)

The constant work, "leitourgos", which Christ has ordained for the Church is the liturgy. This work makes the kingdom present for the renewal and conversion of Christians and of all mankind.

"Within the Church Christ calls all men to conversion, as the unfolding and growth of baptismal grace. "Jesus calls to conversion. This call is an essential part of the proclamation of the kingdom (Mark 1:14-15). In the Church's preaching this call is addressed first to those who do not yet know Christ and his Gospel. Also, Baptism is the principal place for the first and fundamental conversion. It is by faith in the Gospel and by Baptism (Acts 2:38) that one renounces evil and gains salvation, that is, the forgiveness of all sins and the gift of new life." (CCC 1427)

Meeting Christ in the Liturgy offers a reflection for the Third Sunday in Ordinary Time.

(Art: Duccio di Buoninsegna, The Calling of the Apostles Peter and Andrew, 1308/1311. Samuel H. Kress Collection 1939.1.141, National Gallery of Art.)

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