Daily Reflection – 11/16/2023
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)
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 their midst.
Today, Jesus is telling us the same thing he told the Pharisees in the Gospel reading: God’s reign is already here! He gently reminds us that we already live within it. Whether in moments of stillness or phases of change, Christ “lights up the sky from one side to the other,” assuring us that the Kingdom of God has no end, and through the Incarnation, we gladly share in it.
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.
Like a seed planted in fertile soil, Jesus, the sower of the soul, plants God’s kingdom first in our hearts. The kingdom begins from within and transforms our hearts to be like God’s heart — a people who know the power of his love, mercy, and forgiveness.
That means we should 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 someone to lead us, we’re not waiting for conditions to be favorable or unfavorable, we’re not waiting for any earthly act. Instead, we live and submit to the reign of Christ here and now. THAT is what is important. His Kingdom is the ONLY kingdom we should be pursuing.
Please think this through with me. I know you believe in Christ and His power. I know you are striving to live a Christian life in a world turned upside down. I know humanity and the events of the world seek to distract you and me. But there is only one phrase I pray you will adopt as part of your life.
Christ lives in me.
You and I need to make that belief not just come alive but harness the power of that belief and let it drive everything we say or do. We need to surround it with gratitude when we celebrate joyful moments in our life. We need to hold on to it when the darkness of life comes around our day. We need to treasure it when we must confront an event that saps our courage. There will never be anything that we can’t face or do as long as that belief powers our very being.
It is written that there are 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.
The Lord is present now in the words and deeds of people that build up and heal and bring life. We are called to do that. No, we are commanded to do that. That may seem difficult at times but the Lord has assured us that we will never be without his presence. Never!
The Christ in me salutes the Christ in you. Today and every day, share his love and presence in you.
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.