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Who Do You Say That I Am? - Part 29

XXIX. The next phrase, “Thy Kingdom come,” recalls the previous discussions of the meaning of the Kingdom of God proclaimed by Jesus. We are praying here not for the Kingdom to impose itself on a troubled world without any effort of ours, as though God would eliminate our differences, needs, and intervention to bring about the right ordering of human affairs. That would contradict human freedom and dignity, and the original task given to humanity at the beginning, to cultivate and care for the world as co-workers with God (see Genesis 1:28).

Thus Jesus’ words in this prayer do not refer to a set order of the world that God is solely responsible for; rather, they assert God’s dominion and will with which we must cooperate. God sets the standard for the Kingdom, and we are co-creators of its realization. Pope Benedict refers to the familiar story of young Solomon, asleep in the temple with Eli. When Solomon finally realizes it is God calling, he prays: “Speak, Lord, your servant is listening.” God gives him the open-ended offer: “Ask something of Me and I will give it to you.” Rather than wealth, power, honor, or any personal benefit, Solomon prays for wisdom and discernment to know right from wrong, that he may thus rule wisely. This episode interprets well for us what praying for the Kingdom of God to come truly means in our lives.

Further, since Jesus is the Kingdom present in person, to pray for the Kingdom to come is also to pray for communion with Jesus Himself. The Kingdom is present when Christ lives in and through us in the world, both as individuals and as a community of faith, hope, and love.

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