The Kingdom is Now
by Erik Ritland
The Word and the Church
Bible commentary following the Catholic Lectionary (which gives an overview of the entire Bible) by the Fully Alive staff
Monday in the Tenth Week of Ordinary Time
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1 Kg 17: 1-6
Mt. 5: 1-12
God helps Elijah in a particular way in the first reading, leading him to safety and giving him bread to eat (delivered by ravens, which is sort of funny) and a stream to drink by. I’m sure Elijah would agree with the Psalmist’s cry in today’s antiphon: “Our help is from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.”
The beatitudes are an outline of the new kingdom that Jesus ushers in. This subversive kingdom bursts onto the scene with all the force of the living God, defying expectations and cutting to the heart. Jesus calls us not to look at life as the world does, with its emphasis on power, pleasure, and prestige. Instead the truly blessed are those who are humble: the meek, the peacemakers, the persecuted who defend their beliefs without playing the worldly game of violence.
Don’t be dulled to the significance of the term the kingdom of heaven. In his teachings, cross, and resurrection Jesus ushers in the real kingdom of the living God. He is not talking about some far off kingdom or somewhere you go when you die. He is talking about the living reality of God’s kingdom, a kingdom that he ushers in as God himself.
As Christians we live in this kingdom today in the same way that the disciples did when they first followed Jesus. Like them, we are called to announce this kingdom and to live in it. Jesus teaches that it is merciful and comforting. We are thus to be merciful and comfort others, just as he is merciful towards us and comforts us.
The kingdom is now, and God expects us to live accordingly.
Erik Ritland is a writer and musician. He is the lead staff writer and podcast host of Fully Alive Christian Media and Rambling On, which features commentary on music, sports, and an intellectual ragbag. He was also Lead Staff Writer for Minnesota culture blogs Curious North and Hometown Hustle. Reach him via email.
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Erik Ritland received his MA in Theology in 2017. He's the founder and content manager of Fully Alive Christian Media and Rambling On, copy editor and writer for Music in Minnesota, and an acclaimed songwriter.