Thursday saw the start of our Adult Advent group. A good number gathered to begin thinking about the Kingdom of God. A summary of some of the discussion will follow but here are the materials we used.We began in two groups to consider what we knew and had been taught about the Kingdom of God. After feedback we prayed through the Old Testament reading for Advent Sunday from Isaiah

We then read a quote from Jesus of Nazareth by Joseph Ratzinger (Pope Benedict XVI) on the phrase “Thy Kingdom Come” in the Lord’s prayer:

…With this petition, we are acknowledging first and foremost the primacy of God. Where God is absent, nothing can be good. Where God is not seen, man and the world fall to ruin. This is what the Lord means when he says to “seek first his Kingdom and his righteousness and all these things shall be yours as well.” (Mt 6:33) These words establish an order of priorities for human action, for how we approach everyday life. This is not a promise that we will enter the land of Plenty on condition that we are devout or that we are somehow attracted to the Kingdom of God. This is not an automatic formula for a well-functioning world, not a utopian vision of a classless society in which everything works out well of its own accord, simply because there is no private property. Jesus does not give us such simple recipes. What he does do, though…is to establish an absolutely decisive priority. For “Kingdom of God means “dominion of God” and this means that this will is accepted as the true criterion. His will establishes justice and part of justice is that we give God his just due and, in so doing, discover the criterion for what is justly due among men…

Finally, after summing up our discussion from the whole evening we listened to a quote from Jean Vanier as a meditation:

To manifest this love, Jesus himself became broken and rejected, a man of sorrows and of anguish and of tears; he became the Crucified One. And so communities formed in His name will seek communion with the Father through Him and in Him; they will also seek to bring the good news to the poor and liberation to the oppressed and the imprisoned. Within the church, over the ages, one or the other aspect of this double mission has been emphasised.

Every community and every family are called to live both forms of mission, but in different ways: to pray, and to be present in a special way… within their own community or outside it, according to their individual call. God is the fountain from whom we are called to drink, and this source of life is meant to flow, through each of us, upon all those who thirst: ‘As the Father has loved me, so I love you… and my commandment is that you love one another as I love you.’ Some people drink first from the waters flowing from God and then discover that they are called to give water to the thirsty. Others begin by giving water to the thirsty but soon find that their well is empty; they then discover the sources of water flowing from the heart of God which become in them ‘a source of water welling up into eternal life.’”