Throughout his public ministry, the Lord Jesus constantly announced that “the Kingdom of God” was at hand. What exactly is this kingdom? It’s a charged biblical term. It can mean several different things at the same time. There are political, moral, spiritual, mystical, and cultural contexts which form deep layers of meaning and attach profound significance to the term.

The Lord Jesus fulfilled all of these layers of meaning and brought forth a new one, a very personal one.

When the Lord Jesus announced that the Kingdom of God was at hand, He principally and ultimately meant himself. He is the kingdom of God. All that was spoke and taught, all the layers of meaning, all the points of significance, are consummated and fulfilled in him. He is the kingdom of God made flesh and is physically, tangibly here among God’s people.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church makes this point in a few words: “In Jesus, ‘the Kingdom of God is at hand.’”

Yes, in Jesus Christ, God’s kingdom – with all its hopes and promises – is present among us. The kingdom is at hand because the Lord Jesus is at hand. He is the kingdom of God, living and breathing in our midst.

The Catechism tells us: “[Jesus] calls his hearers to conversion and faith, but also to watchfulness.”

The kingdom of God has come in Jesus Christ. As such, God has shown himself faithful to his word. If he has spoken it, it will be fulfilled. As we witness his faithfulness, we are called to live in a spirit of prayerful vigilance knowing that God will continue to bring to completion all that He has begun in the human family and within our own hearts.

We live in a society that has forgotten how to wait, watch, or actively listen. These are powers of our spiritual soul and they provide us with the opportunity to encounter the kingdom of God and to know of God’s presence and providence in our lives.

The Catechism continues: “In prayer the disciple keeps watch, attentive to Him Who Is and Him Who Comes, in memory of his first coming in the lowliness of the flesh, and in the hope of his second coming in glory.”

The realization of the kingdom of God in Jesus Christ motivates and inspires believers to wait and watch for the action of God in our world today, as well as discern the signs of the times in anticipation for his glorious return when the kingdom he has inaugurated will be brought to full fruition. In the spirit of this watchfulness, everything is seen in the light of eternity.

As the Christian way of life is marked by a joyful hope in the Lord’s return, everything is seen from that perspective, and the presence and providence of God can be searched for, recognized, and celebrated by those who have experienced a conversion of heart and who seek to live their lives by faith.

In order for this awareness to be given, the disciples of the Lord have to learn and actively watch and wait for the Lord. Such waiting is for the Second Coming, but it’s also a waiting  for God in our world today. In the face of tragedy and evil, the disciple cries out, “Come, Lord Jesus!” and “Your Kingdom Come!” Such watchfulness in the affairs of life today strengthen and enrich our preparation and yearning for the Lord’s return in glory.

The Catechism notes: “In communion with their Master, the disciples’ prayer is a battle; only by keeping watch in prayer can one avoid falling into temptation.”

There are many other things in our world that want us to wait for them. Some of them are evil, most of them are just good things at the wrong time or with the wrong people. Temptation is present and wants to distract the disciples of the Lord. Sin and its false promises want us to wait for it and serve its agenda.

In the face of temptation and distraction, we are called to fight the good fight and keep watch for the Lord. While our fallen hearts may want others things at times, and the fallen world makes its false promises and offers us its flashy way of life, we must stand firm, pray ardently, celebrate the kingdom of God among us, and faithfully watch for God.