The Official Newspaper of the Diocese of Little Rock

Embracing the kingdom of God

Jesus’ proclamation of the kingdom of God is the core of the Gospel message. Followers of Jesus have to learn to recognize it and commit ourselves to helping shape a world where God’s priorities are our own. Discover how Jesus teased out the meaning of God’s kingdom in various images and teachings with this 10-part column series.

Catherine Upchurch, general editor of the Little Rock Catholic Study Bible and contributor to several biblical publications, writes from Fort Smith.


Planting, harvesting, the work of God’s kingdom

By Catherine Upchurch, Published: November 13, 2020   

There is something mysterious about the kingdom of God. Jesus describes it this way: “It is as if a man were to scatter seed on the land and would sleep and rise night and day and the seed would sprout and grow, he knows not how.” (Mark 4:27) I’m fairly certain a seasoned farmer or a scientist could describe just how it happens, and we could install cameras to watch the emergence of the tiniest More... 

Citizens of a kingdom without borders

By Catherine Upchurch, Published: October 7, 2020   

There is sometimes a tendency to equate the kingdom of God with a particular nation or religious institution, as if any such society could embody the reign of God completely. While it is true that we are called to participate in building the kingdom of God in this world, and to reflect God’s sovereignty in our lives, no nation, synagogue or church is equivalent to God’s kingdom. And yet, from various passages of Scripture, sometimes taken More... 

To forgive as we are forgiven is Christ’s call

By Catherine Upchurch, Published: September 25, 2020   

One of my grade school teachers, who happened also to be my mom, taught me and my classmates an important lesson about forgiveness. She helped us see that forgiveness is more than a feeling. If we wait for the feeling of forgiveness to come after having been hurt, we may wait too long. The hurt becomes a wound that leaves a scar. On the other hand, she taught us that we should say the words, “I More... 

Radical forgiveness is a sign of the kingdom

By Catherine Upchurch, Published: August 20, 2020   

“We believe in a God of second chances” is a common way of speaking about God’s ability to allow us make mistakes, to let us sin and repent. But there is another saying that also comes to mind: “Fool (or offend) me once, shame on you. Fool (or offend) me twice, shame on me.” Surely twice is not as far as we can go. The Bible tells us that God is not nearly so miserly. When More... 

The kingdom of God is a rare treasure

By Catherine Upchurch, Published: July 17, 2020   

“Antiques Roadshow” is a perennial favorite among viewers of public broadcasting. Folks bring in all kinds of objects to discover the monetary values and also to share or learn more about the history of their particular items. Some pieces and their accompanying stories have been handed down for generations. Other pieces were purchased at garage sales. Everyone is hoping to discover from the experts that their item is a treasure beyond compare. It is fair to say More... 

God’s kingdom and lessons from children

By Catherine Upchurch, Published: June 27, 2020   

A large stained glass window dominates my memories of the parish church where I grew up and received all my childhood sacraments. It depicts Jesus surrounded by children, his face welcoming and his body stooped a bit to greet them.  His adult followers in the scene are either looking on in wonderment or trying to get the children to back away. As a child, that window invited me to feel at home, and I did. The More... 

God’s Kingdom a lesson in patient surrender

By Catherine Upchurch, Published: May 15, 2020   

In the days that have stretched into weeks upon weeks during the pandemic, we are learning valuable lessons about ourselves, our relationships and our interactions with the world around us. One of the lessons has to do with the importance of patience and surrender, two related qualities of the spiritual life that also reveal something about the kingdom of God. The Gospel of Matthew contains a parable from Jesus that is unique in the Gospels. It More... 

Realizing abundance in kingdom of God

By Catherine Upchurch, Published: April 9, 2020   

This weekend we celebrate Easter and the holy days that lead up to it. We proclaim that Jesus rose from the dead, and we hope in the resurrection that we will share with him. The resurrection two centuries ago from a rock-enclosed tomb is good news not just for the followers of Jesus in the past but for all who wish to find meaning in a world that is sometimes hard and full of dying. Easter More... 

The kingdom’s guest list is surprising

By Catherine Upchurch, Published: March 13, 2020   

Jesus is known for using stories to teach his closest followers and the crowds who gather along the way. These stories of seeds and crops, banquets and simple meals, beggars and travelers, and blindness and deafness are familiar from a lifetime of hearing them in our Sunday and weekday liturgies. They pour over us and have the potential to shape our perceptions just by the sheer power of repetition. But perhaps the stories Jesus shared have More... 

The Kingdom of God is now — and not yet

By Catherine Upchurch, Published: February 11, 2020   

Kingdoms of all kinds dominate the headlines — countries, political parties, social media and financial institutions are the newsmakers. However, the news of a kingdom that raises up the poor, rewards those who are forgiving, liberates captives and feeds the hungry hardly gets a mention, even in the footnotes of a nightly telecast or as a crumb on daily news sites. This kind of kingdom that reverses all the usual assumptions relies on its adherents More...