The Paradox Parexcellence
The first words of Jesus are few and apparently simple. There is similarity between His words and that of John’s. But there is a world of difference too. Christ’s words have an eternally living meaning.
For convenience we split the passage into smaller statements: (1) “The time has come”. ‘The time’ here is the time for which men have been waiting. It is the time prophesied and announced. John referred to the coming of a King, who will found the Kingdom of Heaven. And the King has come and He announces that the doors of the Kingdom are open. He is the guide, the path, the hand, before He being King in all the splendour of His celestial glory.
The time Jesus refers to is “now” and “eternity”. The moment of His appearance, the moment of His death, the moment of His resurrection, the moment of His ascension into heaven, the moment of His Second coming, the moment of His perfect triumph- all. We may call it the epoch of Jesus, the Christian era, the New Covenant. Every time man tries to enter into God’s Kingdom and confirms the Kingdom by believing and redeemed by the most precious Blood of Christ (through the reception of the sacraments), he consolidates, defends and proclaims its perpetual sanctity- and its perpetual rightness. Then and there the Kingdom is accomplished. The time is ripe. He who is thus transformed is in the fullness of time.
It implies that the transformed (one who is redeemed through the transformation) takes part, enters into, enjoys this Kingdom here and now. And it is as it should be. The invitation is always there. To accept it or reject it is left to each and every individual. Surely, it is a matter of ‘life’ and ‘death’. This Kingdom is of today, of tomorrow, of always. It is the reality of the future always just realized. It is the ‘already’ and the ‘not yet’. It is alive and actual. The Kingdom is just started for you and me. It is ‘work’ started a very short time ago. It is work always worth starting and carrying it on until the last breath.
The Kingdom of God is diametrically opposed to the Kingdom of satan. The Kingdom of God is that of good, of sincerity, of love, of humility, of honesty, of justice, of faithfulness, of hard work and of renunciation. It is the Kingdom of the spirit and of the soul- the kingdom of purity. It is the dominion of goodness. It is a life with upraised eyes, aspiring for Heaven, longing to live for ever in eternal bliss. All this means to live in Holiness. This is the simple and ever living meaning of the Kingdom of God, the Kingdom of Heaven.
The Kingdom of satan is the Kingdom of evil, of deceit, of cruelty, of pride, of baseness- all that is negative and pessimistic. It is the Kingdom of matter and flesh, of hatred, of avarice, of sensuality- all things loved by evil and distraught men.