THE KINGDOM OF GOD

Thursday, 32nd Week in Ordinary Time        

            Jesus, in today’s gospel, answers the question of the Pharisees as to when “the kingdom of God” will come. He says that it will not come with signs that you can watch for. The word Jesus uses is the word used for a doctor watching a patient for symptoms of some suspected disease.

            According to the scripture scholar, William Barclay, we are not quite sure what Jesus went on to say. The Greek term used may mean two things: It may mean, “The kingdom of God is within you.” That is to say, the kingdom of God works in human hearts. It is to produce not new things, but new people. It is not a revolution in material things that we are to look for, but a revolution in the hearts of men and women. It may mean, “The kingdom of God is among you.” This is the translation used in our lectionary. That would refer to Jesus himself. He was the very embodiment of the Kingdom, and people did not recognize him. It was as if he said, “The whole offer and secret of God is here – and you will not accept them.”

            Pope Francis, in his homily on this gospel, says that the kingdom of God is not a spectacle. But our human weakness prefers the spectacle. The Holy Father says that the kingdom of God will show its power at the end of time at the coming of Christ; however, it also manifests itself in ordinary life. It is not far from us. It is near! This is one of its features: it is close to us everyday.

            The kingdom of God is hidden in the holiness of daily life, in everyday holiness. (Pope Francis) It is hidden in the faithful love of husband and wife, in the sacrifice of children who take care of their ageing parents, in the trust and confidence of the poor in God’s providence, in the selflessness of missionaries and catechists, in the commitment of those who serve the marginalized, in the patient endurance and perseverance of persecuted Christians.

            The seeds of the kingdom of God are growing around us. We do not have to wait for the Second Coming to know and experience something of it. We can be the seeds – in face, we should be – the lights, the signs of the Kingdom in our time.

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