What did Jesus mean by the kingdom of God according to Pope Benedict XVI? In my judgment, the whole mission of Jesus is summed up when one clarifies what “kingdom of God” means, and there are many who talk about kingdom but don’t take the time to work through the Gospels to see what Jesus meant by it. Here’s Benedict’s statement:
Notice this: “The question about the Church is not the primary question. The basic question is actually about the relationship between the Kingdom of God and Christ. It is on this that our understanding of the Church will depend” (49).
There are three basic views of kingdom today: the christological view (Jesus is the kingdom himself), the mystical view (the kingdom is in our hearts), and the ecclesiastical one (the kingdom is the society God wills).
He sketches the Liberal view of Harnack (individualism, moral behaviors), the eschatological view of Weiss (imminent and apocalyptic), and the “regno-centric” or secularistic view (justice and peace).
The problem of the last view: God disappears. (And he’s right on this; too often God does disappear.) Kingdom for Jesus is about God — not just peace and justice.
Again, he christologizes: kingdom is found in and through Jesus.