Thursday, November 14, 2019

The Kingdom of God is among you

"The Kingdom of God is Among You [within you]." How often I've heard that, or read it, and found the explanation (mine or theirs) unsatisfactory--especially the quibbling over the translation. As a protestant, particularly a Lutheran, I always get to be the Pope, the theology professor, the preacher of the day, the one who knows best, and most of the time, that's daunting. The words were heard in Jesus' spoken language, recorded in Greek, translated to Latin, and retranslated into hundreds of languages in multiple versions written and edited and published by people with beliefs and biases. But I like what Pope Benedict XVI wrote in "Jesus of Nazareth," Ignatius Press, 2007. He's has a great mind, and a fabulous translator.

"The new proximity of the Kingdom of which Jesus speaks--the distinguishing feature of his message--is to be found in Jesus himself. Through Jesus' presence and action, God has here and now entered actively into history in a wholly new way. The reason why now is the fullness of time (Mark 1:15), why NOW is in a unique sense the time of conversion and penance, as well as the time of joy, is that in Jesus it is God who draws near to us. In Jesus, God is now the one who acts and who rules as Lord--rules in a divine way, without worldly power, rules through the love that reaches to the end (John 13:1) to the cross . . .

In this context we understand Jesus' statements about the lowliness and hiddenness of the Kingdom; in this context we understand the fundamental image of the seed. . . in this context we also understand his invitation to follow him courageously, leaving everything else behind. He himself is the treasure; communion with him is the pearl of great price."

The book (in Latin) was developed before he became Pope, and his preface is worth looking at.

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