Third Luminous Mystery: Jesus Proclaims the Kingdom of God

Truth and justice, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. That is the kingdom of Christ: the divine activity which saves men... (St. Josemaría, Christ is Passing By, 180).

From the Gospel of St. Mark:

AND AFTER JOHN HAD BEEN DELIVERED UP, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, and saying, "The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand. Repent and believe in the gospel."

And passing along by the sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew, casting their nets into the sea (for they were fishermen). And Jesus said to them, "Come, follow me, and I will make you fishers of men." And at once they left the nets, and followed him. (Mark 1:14-18)

Texts of St. Josemaría:

The kingdom of God is at hand; repent, and believe in the gospel (Mark 1:15). And all the crowd gathered about him, and he taught them (Mark 2:13). Jesus sees the boats on the shore and gets into one of them. How naturally Jesus steps into the boat of each and everyone of us! When you seek to draw close to our Lord, remember that he is always very close to you, that he is in you: regnum Dei intra vos est (Luke 17:21). The kingdom of God is within you. You will find him in your heart. Christ should reign first and foremost in our soul. But in order for him to reign in me, I need his abundant grace. Only in that way can my every heartbeat and breath, my least intense look, my most ordinary word, my most basic feeling be transformed into a hosanna to Christ my King.

Duc in altum. Put out into deep water! Throw aside the pessimism that makes a coward of you. Et laxate retia vestra in capturam. And pay out your nets for a catch! (Holy Rosary–Appendix, The Proclamation of the Kingdom of God)

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 (Matthew 3:2; 4:17).” He commissioned his disciples to proclaim this good news (cfr. Luke 10:9) and he taught them to pray for the coming of the kingdom (cfr. Matthew 6:10). The kingdom of God and his justice — a holy life: that is what we must first seek (cfr. Mt. 6:33), that is the only thing really necessary (cfr. Luke 10:42).

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 (Matthew 22:2-3).” Therefore, our Lord shows that “the kingdom of God is in the midst of you (Luke 17:21).” No one is excluded from salvation, if he responds freely to the loving demands of Christ: to be born again (cfr. John 3:5); to become like children, in simplicity of spirit (cfr. Mark 10:15; Matthew 18:3; 5:3); to avoid everything which separates us from God. “…with difficulty will a rich man enter the kingdom of heaven (Matthew 19:23).” Jesus wants deeds, not just words (cfr. Matthew 7:21). And he wants us to make a determined effort, because only those who fight will merit the eternal inheritance (cfr. Matthew 11:12).

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 (cfr. Matthew 13:44-46). The kingdom of heaven is difficult to win. No one can be sure of achieving it (cfr. Matthew 21:43, 8:12), 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 (Luke 23:42-43).”

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. (Christ is Passing By, 180)

"The kingdom of heaven has been subjected to violence and the violent are taking it by storm (Matthew 11:12)." This violence is not directed against others. It is a violence used to fight your own weaknesses and miseries, a fortitude which prevents you from camouflaging your own infidelities, a boldness to own up to the faith even when the environment is hostile. (Christ is Passing By, 82)

In the middle of his daily work, when he has to overcome his selfishness, when he enjoys the cheerful friendship of other people, a Christian should rediscover God. Through Christ and in the Holy Spirit, a Christian has access to the intimacy of God the Father, and he spends his life looking for the Kingdom which is not of this world, but which is initiated and prepared in this world. (Christ is Passing By, 116)

As long as we are awaiting the Lord’s return, when he will come to take full possession of his kingdom, we cannot afford to relax. Spreading the kingdom of God isn’t only an official task of those members of the Church who represent Christ because they have received sacred powers from him. “You are also the body of Christ (I Corr.. 12:27),” says the Apostle, with a specific command to fulfill. (Christ is Passing By, 121)

Since our first conscious decision really to follow the teaching of Christ, we have no doubt made good progress along the way of faithfulness to his word. And yet isn’t it true that there is still much to be done? Isn’t it true, particularly, that there is still so much pride in us? We need, most probably, to change again, to be more loyal and humble, so that we become less selfish and let Christ grow in us, for “He must become more and more, I must become less and less (John 3:30).”

We cannot stay still. We must keep going ahead toward the goal St. Paul marks out: “It is not I who live, it is Christ that lives in me (Gal. 3:20).” This is a high and very noble ambition, this identification with Christ, this holiness. But there is no other way if we are to be consistent with the divine life God has sown in our souls in baptism. To advance we must progress in holiness. Shying away from holiness implies refusing our christian life its natural growth. The fire of God’s love needs to be fed. It must grow each day, gathering strength in our soul; and a fire is maintained by burning more things...

Am I advancing in my faithfulness to Christ, in my desire for holiness, in a generous apostolate in my daily life, in my ordinary work among my colleagues?

Each one of us, silently, should answer these questions, and he will see that he needs to change again if Christ is to live in him, if Jesus’ image is to be reflected clearly in his behavior. (Christ is Passing By, 58)