Deacon Peter Nguyen, IVE
In the days before the coming of Christ, the common view held by the Jews concerning the Messiah was that of a social and political savior, someone who would liberate them from their temporal woes and oppressions. He was to fulfill their utopian aspirations of being free from the Romans and live comfortable lives in fame and prosperity. As a result, many Jews settled for the false gods of other nations where it seemed more appealing in fulfilling their hopes. Like the Jews, we may find ourselves seeking an alternative plan of salvation in another “kingdom.”
Over the past few months, our society has been troubled by so many different causes such as illness, economic struggles, unnecessary violence and destruction, political tension, etc., and needless to say how these have contributed to our struggles within our hearts as well. For some, it may seem that a solution needs to be applied primarily at the social level. But the answer is much deeper and, sadly, often downplayed
At the center of the drama of creation is man’s relationship with God. Through sin, we estrange ourselves from the Creator and Giver of “every good and perfect gift”, who has been working to restore our relationship with Him and while patiently waiting for our response. Incidentally, human relationships, especially when ending in disappointment or frustration, should point us to the relationship that we truly long for: our reunion with God. When we work towards this reconciliation, we will begin to find harmony and peace flowing into our lives. “It must be recalled that…this reconciliation with God leads, as it were, to other reconciliations, which repair the other breaches caused by sin. The forgiven penitent is reconciled with himself in his inmost being, where he regains his innermost truth. He is reconciled with his brethren whom he has in some way offended and wounded.” As a true religion (coming from the Latin re-ligare, to bind again or re-eligere, to choose again), our faith is to be lived out manifesting to world of our reconciliation with God.
But in order for Christ to reign in our society, He first must reign in our hearts.
The fulfillment of this reconciliation is Jesus Christ, who is present in us through grace. Besides being present through the Church as Head of the Mystical Body, Jesus also resides in us as King. Speaking on the Kingdom of God, Benedict XVI wrote “that Christ uses these words to refer to himself: He, who is in our midst, is the ‘Kingdom of God,’ only we do not know him (cf Jn 1:30)....He himself is the treasure; communion with him is the pearl of great price”. Here is our answer to a world wounded by sin and desperate for hope. It is us individual persons that God wants to save and through us, those who have yet to accept the message of salvation. But in order for Christ to reign in our society, He first must reign in our hearts. How, then, are we to nourish and cultivate the Kingdom of God within us?
By building up our love for the Kingdom in our souls, we will effectively make Jesus Christ known and loved in society by our witness of life. Although many will still reject our testimony as Christ warns us, He urges us to persevere and “take courage, I have overcome the world.” We will be strengthened by Holy Spirit in knowing how to guard, defend, and cultivate the treasures entrusted to the Church and put the rest aside for the renewing of society. It not through a certain set of actions which make witnesses credible, but rather the fidelity to Person by whom we are called. “And He went up on the mountain and called to him those whom he desired, and they came to him. He appointed twelve (whom he also named apostles) so that they might be with Him and He send them out to preach and have authority to cast out demons”.
 James 1:17
 CCC 1469
 Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, Jesus of Nazareth, pg. 60-61
 Philippians 2:8
 St. John Paul II, General Audience, Wednesday August 24th, 1983
 John 16:33
 Mark 3:13-15