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Catechism of the Catholic Church

The proclamation of the kingdom of God

543 Everyone is called to enter the kingdom. First announced to the children of Israel, this messianic kingdom is intended to accept men of all nations. 251 To enter it, one must first accept Jesus' word:

The word of the Lord is compared to a seed which is sown in a field; those who hear it with faith and are numbered among the little flock of Christ have truly received the kingdom. Then, by its own power, the seed sprouts and grows until the harvest. 252

544 The kingdom belongs to the poor and lowly, which means those who have accepted it with humble hearts. Jesus is sent to "preach good news to the poor"; 253 he declares them blessed, for "theirs is the kingdom of heaven." 254 To them - the "little ones" the Father is pleased to reveal what remains hidden from the wise and the learned. 255 Jesus shares the life of the poor, from the cradle to the cross; he experiences hunger, thirst and privation. 256 Jesus identifies himself with the poor of every kind and makes active love toward them the condition for entering his kingdom. 257

545 Jesus invites sinners to the table of the kingdom: "I came not to call the righteous, but sinners." 258 He invites them to that conversion without which one cannot enter the kingdom, but shows them in word and deed his Father's boundless mercy for them and the vast "joy in heaven over one sinner who repents". 259 The supreme proof of his love will be the sacrifice of his own life "for the forgiveness of sins". 260

546 Jesus' invitation to enter his kingdom comes in the form of parables, a characteristic feature of his teaching. 261 Through his parables he invites people to the feast of the kingdom, but he also asks for a radical choice: to gain the kingdom, one must give everything. 262 Words are not enough, deeds are required. 263 The parables are like mirrors for man: will he be hard soil or good earth for the word? 264 What use has he made of the talents he has received? 265 Jesus and the presence of the kingdom in this world are secretly at the heart of the parables. One must enter the kingdom, that is, become a disciple of Christ, in order to "know the secrets of the kingdom of heaven". 266 For those who stay "outside", everything remains enigmatic. 267

Notes:

251 Cf. Mt 8:11; 10:5-7; 28:19.

252 LG 5; cf. Mk 4:14, 26-29; Lk 12:32.

253 Lk 4:18; cf. 7:22.

254 Mt 5:3.

255 Cf. Mt 11:25.

256 Cf. Mt 21:18; Mk 2:23-26; Jn 4:6-7; 19:28; Lk 9:58.

257 Cf. Mt 25:31-46.

258 Mk 2:17; cf. l Tim 1:15.

259 Lk 15:7; cf. 7:11-32.

260 Mt 26:28.

261 Cf. Mk 4:33-34.

262 Cf. Mt 13:44-45; 22:1-14.

263 Cf. Mt 21:28-32.

264 Cf. Mt 13:3-9.

265 Cf. Mt 25:14-30.

266 Mt 13:11.

267 Mk 4:11; cf. Mt 13:10-15.

English Translation of the Cathechism of the Catholic Church for the United States of America © 1997, United States Catholic Conference, Inc.

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