unuuunuunuientBy Fr. C. C. Martindale, S.J."""u■uunuunum v!.
IN the last four talks we saw how Our Lord prepared the hearts of His hearers to receive the "Gospel," the " Good Message" that He proposed to proclaim to all the world. Briefly, this concerned a " Kingdom " and its King. (Not that He ever stopped altogether talking of the " change of heart," or spoke only of a Kingdom or only of Himself; but on the whole that was the plan of His teaching.)
Frankly. are we accustomed to use the word " kingdom " very often? Within our memory, one kingdom after another has disappeared. We are almost mystically devoted to our Queen, but we know we are not ruled by her personally. It is not easy to define exactly what we mean by a " constitutional" monarchy. Pethaps in course of time the word " kingdom" w ill survive only in the Our Father, and here and there in the Liturgy. What did Our I.ord mean by the " Kingdom "? and what are we to mean when we say ; " Thy Kingdom come"? There is a verse in St. Mark (4:331: " He spoke to them according as they were able to hear "—it alluded, directly, to Our Lord's use of " parables," stories with a spiritual application which the simpler Jews preferred to straight sermonising, so to say. But the words have a far wider meaning and a deeper value. Our Lord begins from where people arc; not from where they aren't. The Jews believed passionately in the Law, given by Ciod through Moses. Well, Our Lord said they were right : the Law was imperishable. But, as we saw, He revealed its richer, more spiritual sense than the exterior abstinence, out of fear, from certain acts. So, too, they hoped ardently for a " Kingdom of God "—the Throne of a divinely-appointed King in Jerusalem, rich, powerful, reducing all Gentiles into servitude beneath his sceptre.
Our Lord says : " You are right thus to hope for the Triumph of God, but—what shall be the nature of His Kingship? of His Realm?" This we must examine.