Asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, Jesus said in reply, “The coming of the kingdom of God cannot be observed, and no one will announce, ‘Look, here it is,’ or, ‘There it is.’ For behold, the kingdom of God is among you.” Then he said to his disciples, “The days will come when you will long to see one of the days of the Son of Man, but you will not see it. There will be those who will say to you, ‘Look, there he is,’ or ‘Look, here he is.’ Do not go off, do not run in pursuit. For just as lightning flashes and lights up the sky from one side to the other, so will the Son of Man be in his day. But first he must suffer greatly and be rejected by this generation.” (Luke 17:20-25)
Travelers throughout the ages have always searched for the quickest way to reach their destination. Hold onto that thought.
In today’s Gospel the Pharisees ask Jesus, with a mixture of interest, curiosity, and fear when will the Kingdom of God come? When will it be the last day, the end of the world? Imagine how perplexed they were by Jesus’ answer!
Jesus tells them the kingdom of God is not to be identified with a point of time. He also refuses to locate the reign of God “here” or “there.” He simply says that the reign of God is already in your midst.
That should not surprise us. After all, Christ’s kingdom is concerned more about the state of the soul and the struggle between good and evil than external nations. His Kingdom is not a place but a condition where God reigns. Jesus taught what God wanted us to do. When we follow Jesus, God reigns in us.
Today, almost one in three people claim Jesus as Lord and King. That has happened because the kingdom of God continues and that kingdom of God is not tied to a particular political or cultural or societal or civic expression.
Because God’s Kingdom is not dependent on governments. Regardless of what political climate we are in, we must be living for God’s glory and to be light in a dark world. We must be living as Kingdom citizens now. We’re not waiting for Christ’s return to live like Christians but we’re doing so now in anticipation of His return. We’re not waiting for a democrat or a republican to hold office to life for the King, we’re not waiting for conditions to be favorable or unfavorable, tolerant or intolerant of Christians. Instead we live and submit to the reign of Christ here and now. THAT is what is important. Not a political slogan. Not succumbing to a way of living that is contra to the teachings of Christ. His Kingdom is the ONLY kingdom we should be pursuing.
St. Bernard speaks of the three advents of Christ. The first advent is Christmas; the third advent is the one in which Christ will come to judge the living and the dead. The second, or middle, advent is the “time of visitation” by which Christ is present and active in each of our lives. It is there, where the first and the third advents appear on a personal and experienced level. Jesus’ verdict on Judgment’s day will reflect whether we have lived as citizens of His Kingdom.
That’s the shortest direction to His Kingdom. This Kingdom that unpredictably will start “outside” may commence right now “inside” us. The last day starts its configuration right now, inside us. If we want to be allowed into the Kingdom in that last day, we must let the Kingdom get inside us, right now.
The Lord is present now in the words and deeds of people that build up and heal and bring life. Not tear down and sow discord. The Lord has assured us that we will never be without his presence. What we need are eyes to see and ears to hear, the eyes and ears of faith. Like the disciples earlier in Luke’s gospel we need to pray, “Increase our faith.”
Prayer of The Day
Lord Jesus Christ, may your kingdom come and may your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Be the Ruler of my heart and the Master of my life that I may always live in the freedom of your love and truth.
God’s Kingdom is present every time grace is at work. It’s so easy for us to be overwhelmed by the evils of this world and to miss the presence of God. God is alive in countless ways all around us. We must always strive to see this presence, be inspired by it and love it.
Reflect, today, upon the presence of the Kingdom of God present among you. Do you see it in your heart? Do you daily invite Jesus to rule your life? Do you acknowledge Him as your Lord? And do you see the ways He comes to you through your daily circumstances or in others and in your daily situations? Seek Him out constantly and this will bring joy to your heart.