As we cultivate God’s Kingdom within us, we naturally desire to foster God’s Kingdom among us, by selflessly serving others. Br. Nicholas Bartoli explores how each individual’s way of fostering the Kingdom will be responsive to our unique individuality and vocation as a member of Christ’s Body.
Transcript: So we’re now looking at the fourth mark of mission, transforming unjust structures of society, and pursuing peace.
In another of the videos of this series, I talked about the kingdom within. However, whenever Jesus spoke about God’s kingdom, he spoke about it as both within and among us, and so there is this – in fact, there is sort of – a relationship between the two: that as we cultivate the kingdom within us, this awareness of God’s presence and His loving presence within us, that we would naturally desire to serve selflessly out of love in the world, and foster the kingdom of God among us.
In fact, you could say that the kingdom of God among us, and this working towards of kingdom among us, is a fruit of fostering this kingdom within us. And in fact, in a few places Jesus talks about how you can sort of tell someone by the fruit. So it’s not just enough just to feel like well, you know, maybe I’m cultivating the kingdom of God within me. But the litmus test in community is, “Is this manifesting itself among the community” – the small community, the wider community, the world – “in terms of how I’m taking action in the world? You know, what do I desire, how does this motivate me?”
And this selfless service can take many forms. You know, this sort of sense of the kingdom of God within us as an inner peace might motivate us to seek to instill peace among us in various ways, either by our presence, by our helping in various ways, and of course, there is a distinction that we can be of service in very sort of practical small ways, or we can look on a larger scale, and try to address the questions of the structures that perpetuate some of the injustices that we’re seeing.
You know, an example that comes to mind might be working with people who live on the streets, with the homeless population. So, you know, in a way it’s sort of a vocational question. Both people might be motivated out of their own sense of God’s kingdom within themselves to address this problem. But one person might be called to work on a very local level, working in a food pantry, serving meals, becoming friends with some of the people who live on the street, and helping in that way to bring peace on that level. While someone else might be called to work on a larger level, and work toward eradicating the structural causes for homelessness, so that perhaps one day we can see this problem eradicated.
So one question we can ask ourselves is – in terms of being called to foster the kingdom of God among us, you know – where do we see ourselves taking action? What desire do we feel within us to change the world for the better, to make it the kingdom of God?
– Br. Nicholas Bartoli
Question: What desire do you feel within yourself to change the world for the better?
Icons are images that open us up. They act as windows that let the light of God shine in. This week’s activity invites you to compose your own “icon” for the Kingdom of God. Draw or paste in pictures that help you recall God’s vision, to create a collage that lets God’s light shine in.