To be conformed to the image of his Son (Rom 8, 29)
The wisest and most intelligent thing we can do is to seek the kingdom of God. That is because this kingdom represents all our best aspirations.
To be part of the kingdom is to attain the inexhaustible highest good that gives rise to more goods. On the other hand, to enjoy only exhaustible goods and not be part of the kingdom is to end up without even the little that one possesses.
If we do not belong to the kingdom, there is no profit for us gaining the whole world even. The kingdom is worth all our fervent prayers, all our efforts, all the risks we take, all the wealth we possess and can use to acquire it. Whoever understands this surely prays humbly and, hence, is granted the discernment so as to move forward from the past and the present to something new.
And the new springs forth, do we not perceive it? The kingdom is at hand; Jesus inaugurates it as he heals the sick, assists the helpless, raises the dead, evangelizes the poor and welcomes, without making premature judgments, all kinds of people.
He is the first of those instructed in the kingdom who bring from the storeroom both the new and the old. He is unlike holders of professorial chairs who are bogged down in preserving their customs and teachings—and perhaps their privileged exclusivism or clericalism. Jesus, doing something different, elicits astonishment: “A new teaching with authority. He commands even the unclean spirits and they obey him.”
That is to say, Jesus concentrates on doing good, on living justice, mercy and the faith that works through love. And it is enough for us, in order to reach the kingdom, to be genuine disciples of the Teacher. He is the central figure that transcends traditions, doctrines, constitutions, structures, platforms and pastoral actions, even though we humans cannot dispense with these. To belong to the kingdom consists above all in living and remaining in Jesus, to take the cue from the French school of spirituality.
Hence, it is good for us to remember, as St. Vincent de Paul wants us to, that “we live in Jesus Christ by the death of Jesus Christ, and that we ought to die in Jesus Christ by the life of Jesus Christ, and that our life ought to be hidden in Jesus Christ and filled with Jesus Christ, and that in order to die like Jesus Christ it is necessary to live like Jesus Christ” (I:295). Our pursuit of the kingdom begins, continues and ends in him.
And if we are really in communion with Jesus and his cherished poor—the sign and cause of which is the Eucharist—we will certainly share their predestined blessedness, for ours too will be the kingdom of heaven.