"The poor and their unjustly inflicted poverty, the social, economic, and political structures on which their reality is based, and their complex ramifications of hunger, imprisonment, torture, assassinations, etc....are all a negation of the Reign of God, and one cannot think about the sincere proclamation of the Reign of God while turning one's back to these realities, or while throwing a cloak over them to cover their shame." -Ignacio EllacuriaThis quote from Ellacuria has reminded me just how important the present moment really is. When we talk about the hope of the reign of God or the "kingdom of God," our minds sometimes gravitate to some future moment. We think about how nice it will be when the reign of God really comes to fruition, but in doing so we release ourselves from having to deal with the issue in the present. And in doing so, we actually deny ourselves the participation in God's reign here and now. We look the future and throw "a cloak" over the shame of the brokenness which surrounds us. The hope for the future which is authentic to the Gospel of Jesus Christ is not a hope which looks longingly beyond the present into some distant future, into some prophesied future millennium, but a hope which springs forth action in the present as a participation in that world for which we hope, the world heralded by resurrection, the future which insists on making itself present among us.
To think about "the sincere proclamation of the Reign of God" is to act creatively and hopefully in the present without forfeiting one's imagination for the present to those things which do not correspond to Christ's future. While we are assured that it is indeed Christ's reign, Christ's future, and thus Christ's work--not ours--there is no authentic way to respond to Christ's work without working in participation with Christ to end poverty, marginalization, and injustice within history... not because we are the world's great hope, but precisely because Christ is the world's hope... and nothing less than the reign of God will do. The present moment is important because it is soaked in Christ's future. The present world and its situations are important precisely because, because of the incarnation, it is there that God's reign truly lives. The future of God lives in the present and the present takes its cues from Christ's future.