Jesus was a man of vision concerned primarily for the “reign of God” not as a concept but as a living ever transforming reality that would bring justice to an oppressive world order, change the way we related with each other, and gentle all of us. He spoke his vision with conviction, and he lived it – healing the sick, the downtrodden and ostracized of his day. With integrity (not violence), Jesus challenged the domination system of his time.
May we live our commitment.
How do “domination systems” reveal themselves in our present time? Do we challenge them in our thinking and action? What integrity are we called to by the example of Jesus? Meditate on the Beatitudes. Read Matthew Chapter 5.
You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor[b] and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of God who causes the sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get?
Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
The message is this: in the Kingdom of God no one is unemployed, everyone is called to do their part.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love,
Where there is injury, pardon.
Francis of Assisi
This vision is about God’s reign coming on earth… God’s rule where the practices of justice and mercy and kindness and peaceableness are every day the order of the day. It is a vision of the world as a peaceable neighborliness in which no one is under threat, no one is at risk, no one is in danger, because all are safe, all are valued, all are honored, all are cared for. And this community of peaceableness will come only when the vicious cycles of violent accumulation are broken.
The point is not that Jesus was a good guy who accepted everybody, and thus we should do the same (though that would be good). Rather, his teachings and behavior reflect an alternative social vision. Jesus was not talking about how to be good and how to behave within the framework of a domination system. He was a critic of the domination system itself.
Marcus J. Borg
The Kingdom of God is not a matter of getting individuals to heaven, but of transforming the life on earth into the harmony of heaven.
Christians were never meant to be normal. We’ve always been holy troublemakers, we’ve always been creators of uncertainty, agents of dimension that’s incompatible with the status quo; we do not accept the world as it is, but we insist on the world becoming the way that God wants it to be. And the Kingdom of God is different from the patterns of this world.
The kingdom of God is available to you in the here and the now. But the question is whether you are available to the kingdom.
Thich Nhat Hanh
When we see social relationships controlled everywhere by the principles which Jesus illustrated in life — trust, love, mercy, and altruism — then we shall know that the reign of God is here.
Martin Luther King, Jr.