The Kingdom of God

Q. On behalf of our RCIA group, I have a question: What exactly do we mean by "the Kingdom of God?"

-- D.D., Sandy, Utah

A. Here’s a reply from Msgr. M. Francis Mannion:

By "the Kingdom of God" we mean the reign, the power, the will, the presence of God. The Kingdom of God is not, of course, a place, but a realm beyond space and time, though it does have its presence within space and time also.

First, we may say that the Kingdom of God is heaven, the realm in which the Holy Trinity, the angels, saints and all those who are with God, dwell together. There, God's power and glory are realized completely, and there is nothing that is not of God.

The Christian sets his or her heart on the heavenly Kingdom of God and looks forward to the day when all are reunited therein.

Second, we may say that the Kingdom of God has its presence in the Church on earth. Theologians rightly hold that the Kingdom of God cannot be identified simply with the Church.

The Church and its people are, very obviously, far from perfect. But the reign of God is already present and at work in the sacraments and liturgy of the Church, in the proclamation and reception of the Word of God, in virtuous and holy living in the model of Christ.

Third, the Kingdom of God is present in embryonic form in all of creation. The glory of God is already manifested in the power and beauty of created things, in those impulses of the human heart that are noble and creative -- in short, in all men and women of goodwill.

The Christian vision is that, at the end of time, all creation will be drawn up into the glory of God's kingdom.