Jesus Take the Wheel
The kingdom of God is at hand
What are we to make of this kingdom-of-God message? Christ, our compass, said he could make all things new. Journey is not a spiritual metaphor anymore. It is a long, working trip along a narrow path of conversion.
Strong temptations face us along the way. We are tempted to despair of our world. Economic and political problems look too big to change. Maybe we have hurt those closest to us: our families, our friends.
We need only recall the prayer that Jesus taught us to see that real rebirth means serious work. We face temptations. We need to be forgiven. We need to forgive those who hurt us. (See Mt 6:9–13.)
We need to remember as well that our life with Jesus unfolds in stages. Our families teach us to eat with them just as they teach us to walk and talk. Our parents teach us not to be selfish. We eventually leave the house, seeking acceptance and welcome from others. We must decide: Whom do I invite to join my friends and me?
Eating together means sharing life. There is a key connection here to sharing new life. The apostle Paul reminds us that infants in Christ have to eventually leave spiritual milk behind and move on to solid food. (See 1 Cor 3:1–3a.) Jesus teaches us to ask for new bread each day. What sort of bread is this? Is it the solid food we need for our journey?
Our compass is a person. In the Eucharist, this person becomes our bread, our strength, and our guide. Jesus disrupts our modern temples: the kingdom of God is at hand! If we are in relationship with Jesus, we are committed to acting like the kingdom of God is here. We understand and begin the journey with Christ through the Eucharist. We invite others to the eucharistic feast, understanding that in Christ, we are called to take on the frustrations and injustices of others. We are asked to turn the tables on structures that ignore the needs of the poor. We are asked to speak for the voiceless, to reclaim the value of those whose lives are ignored as worthless. c
Daniel J. Finucane, PhD, teaches in the Department of Theological Studies at St. Louis University, where he also serves as director of the Manresa Program in Catholic, Jesuit Studies.