On November 19-20 my Theology Department organized a theology congress at our university entitled “The Kingdom of Christ: History, Theology, Life.” I was involved in its organization, and that’s why I’m only writing about it now (in short, I was too busy participating in it to write about it), two liturgical seasons later (Advent and Christmas, in case you were wondering). On January 3rd the Legion of Christ celebrated the 75th year of its foundation, and so we’ve also begun a jubilee year (along with the Year of Consecrated life, which will conclude on February 2nd, and the Year of Mercy that was announced after we’d announced our jubilee year–in case you’re counting, that means as of this writing there are three “Years” underway). The congress in part was a theological preparation for our jubilee year, since our Movement, Regnum Christi (for the Latin-impaired, that means Kingdom of Christ in Latin) focuses a lot on the Kingdom of Christ as something we need to help extend: it’s a point of focus for how we understand our mission.
It wasn’t just of theological interest to us. Do you realize how often you pray “Thy Kingdom Come!” without really realizing what that Kingdom consists of or why Jesus in his earthly life said it was already here (“at hand”)? It’s not just something coming soon: it’s something that was inaugurated by Christ and still present and active. The congress considered the Kingdom of Christ from various perspectives: biblical, historical, dogmatic, spiritual, and pastoral. Almost all the presenters were from our university, and the great majority were also Legionaries and consecrated members of Regnum Christi, so it was a chance for us to reflect profoundly and theologically on a mystery of Christ so closely linked to our charism. Every ecclesial movement tries to articulate and understand the particular charism it has received from the Holy Spirit for the good of the whole Church, since understanding and living the charism is a key to its identity.
As the ecclesiology professor I presented a paper on The Church Past, Present, and Future and the Kingdom of Christ with the goal of understanding the relationship between the Church and the Kingdom of Christ. Some have thought they’re completely identical, others have thought they’re completely different, and others have even thought that they’re completely at odds with one another. What do I think? You’ll have to wait until the paper is published, hopefully in a few months (I’m working on the publication of all the proceedings, so please say a prayer for me that we manage to publish in Spanish and English), but rest assured that the Kingdom is present and active in the work of salvation and the Church is involved.