We mention the “Kingdom of God” each time we pray the Our Father and hear it regularly in the Gospel readings. In Jesus of Nazareth: From the Baptism in the Jordan to the Transfiguration, the Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI calls the Kingdom of God the “core content of the Gospel”. It is mentioned 122 times in the New Testament, 90 of them by Christ himself in the Gospels. It is unlikely that any Christian is unaware of the Kingdom of God, yet how many of us really understand what it? How then can we fulfill our responsibility as Christians to create and maintain it?
Seek First the Kingdom: Challenging the Culture by Living the Faith begins with a thorough examination of what Christ and the Church teach us about the Kingdom. We simultaneously live in a democracy in the secular world and a spiritual Kingdom which, though invisible, is just as substantial. The Kingdom of God is not complete and will not be so until Christ comes again, nevertheless, it is our job as Christians to manifest the Kingdom by working toward God’s will here on earth. As Cardinal Donald Wuerl correctly points out, this is not a job to be left to the clergy; it is first and foremost the responsibility of the laity to see that God’s Kingdom is brought to the world because we are in the world.
Seek First the Kingdom is the not the political book I thought it would be. And that’s a good thing. One of the ways we as Christians are called to bring the Kingdom to our secular society is through politics, yet that is only part of our responsibility. For example, we must work to do God’s will in healthcare, but seeing that just laws are passed regarding the health industry is not enough; doctors and nurses must imitate Christ the Healer by bringing compassion and love into their practice. The second part of Seek First the Kingdom is a call to action, with Cardinal Wuerl putting forth the many ways Christians must bring the Kingdom of God into the world. I read it as a sort of guidebook, not necessarily specific in its instructions, but laying down the general direction toward incorporating my faith into the society in which I live.
Living in a society that is so focused on political correctness and relativism, I have often been confused about how (and how much) to openly discuss and fight for my beliefs without impinging upon the rights of others. This book largely answered my questions in that respect and gave me a greater understanding of the Lord’s expectations on this matter. I highly recommend this book for all Catholics that are looking for answers about how to bring their faith with them outside of Mass and their own homes into the public sphere.