Josemaría Escrivá Obras

This Christ, whose birth we witnessed at Bethlehem, this adorable child, is the Lord of the universe. Let us meditate upon this fact. Everything in heaven and on earth was created by him. He has reconciled all things to the Father. He has re-established peace between heaven and earth, through the blood he shed on the cross. Today Christ is king, at the right hand of the Father. As the two angels in white robes said to the disciples who were gazing into heaven after our Lord's ascension: "Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into heaven? This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven." Through him kings hold power, although kings — that is, human political authority — do not last. Yet the kingdom of Christ "will remain forever." "His is an everlasting dominion and his kingdom endures from generation to generation."

Christ's kingdom is not just a figure of speech. Christ is alive; he lives as a man, with the same body he took when he became man, when he rose after his death, the glorified body which subsists in the person of the Word together with his human heart. Christ, true God and true man, lives and reigns. He is the Lord of the universe. Everything that lives is kept in existence only through him. Why, then, does he not appear to us in all his glory? Because his kingdom is "not of this world," though it is in this world. Jesus replied to Pilate: "I am a king. For this I was born and for this I have come into the world, to bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears my voice." Those who expected the Messiah to have visible temporal power were mistaken. "The kingdom of God does not mean food and drink but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit." Truth and justice, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. That is the kingdom of Christ: the divine activity which saves men and which will reach its culmination when history ends and the Lord comes from the heights of paradise finally to judge men.

When Christ began to preach on earth he did not put forward a political program. He said: "Repent, for the kingdom of God is at hand." He commissioned his disciples to proclaim this good newsand he taught them to pray for the coming of the kingdom. The kingdom of God and his justice — a holy life: that is what we must first seek, that is the only thing really necessary.

The salvation which our Lord Jesus Christ preaches is an invitation which he addresses to every person: "A king gave a marriage feast for his son, and he sent his servants to call those who were invited to the marriage feast." Therefore, our Lord shows that "the kingdom of God is in the midst of you." No one is excluded from salvation, if he responds freely to the loving demands of Christ: to be born again; to become like children, in simplicity of spirit; to avoid everything which separates us from God. Jesus wants deeds, not just words. And he wants us to make a determined effort, because only those who fight will merit the eternal inheritance.

His kingdom will not achieve its perfection on earth. The definitive judgment of salvation or condemnation will not be made here. It is rather like sowing seed, like the growth of the grain of mustard seed. At its finish it will be like the net full of fish — they are all thrown out on the sand and sorted into those who led a just life and those who did evil. But as long as we live here the kingdom can be compared to yeast which a woman took and mixed with three measures of flour so that the whole batch was leavened.

Anyone who understands the kingdom Christ proposes, realizes that it is worth staking everything to obtain it. It is the pearl the merchant gets by selling all his property; it is the treasure found in the field. The kingdom of heaven is difficult to win. No one can be sure of achieving it, but the humble cry of a repentant man can open wide its doors. One of the thieves who was crucified with Jesus pleaded with him: "Lord, remember me when you come into your kingdom." And Jesus said to him, "Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in paradise."

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