A person is known through the anecdotes that are told, because each one of us lives, along one’s existence, through many events; and also listen to many others tell the stories that happened to them. And from there we take out those anecdotes that we repeat many times. They are, precisely, those personal and strange stories that we like, that most impressed us; those that we have preserved in the memory, because they correspond with our lifestyle or with our values. Otherwise, those that do not interest us, we go on to forget. That is why we carry out a selective process and remember only those, which somehow, “tell us something.” And for this reason, we can know a person through the anecdotes one relates; because one can see reflected in them, one’s personality, one’s values, what one is, and what one wants.
The anecdotes of Jesus are written all over the Gospels: parables, brief stories of miracles and mercy, and his prayers that expresses what Jesus wants, what Jesus likes, what Jesus values, what Jesus is.
So too with us. We get to know a person by the very prayer he or she says. Let us understand Jesus’ values through his prayer, the “Our Father”, but focusing on only one verse: “Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”
The phrase “The Kingdom of God is characteristic of the whole New Testament. No phrase is used often in prayer and in preaching and in Christian literature than the Kingdom of God. It is, therefore, of primary importance that we should be clear as to what it means. It is evident that the Kingdom of God is central in the message of Jesus. He often regards it as the obligation and purpose of His life. He said, “I must preach the good news of the Kingdom of God to the other cities also, for I was sent for this purpose.” (Luke 4, 43 and Mark 1, 38). And often it is confusing because Jesus used the Kingdom of God in three different ways: as past, present and future.
One of the most common characteristics of Hebrew poetry is what we call, parallelism. It is a literary device in which a phrase is repeated, amplified or explained in another way. Example, The Lord is my shepherd, there is nothing I shall want or he makes me lie down in greener pastures, He leads me beside still waters. (Psalm 23). If we apply this principle in the Lord’s Prayer we get this: The Kingdom come, is when thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Therefore, the Kingdom of God happens or is here, when the will of God is done on earth as it is done in heaven. When the will of God is obeyed here on earth as it is obeyed and loved in heaven.
St. Ignatius in his Spiritual Exercise has a good way to see whether we do the will of God as it is done in heaven. Ask yourself three questions spanning the past, the present, and the future. What have I done for Christ? What am I doing for Christ? What ought I to do for Christ?
And perhaps, when we examine our lives using these three questions, people get to see who we are, what we value, and for whom have our lives been dedicated for.
*Ateneo students experiencing parish life in UP as part of the Theology class. They enjoyed serving at Mass.