The Kingdom of God

Luke 17: 20-25
Philemon 7-20 / Ps 146:7-10

The kingdom of God is not like something you can observe and say of it: ‘Look, here it is! There it is!’ See, the kingdom of God is among you.
(Luke 17:20-21)

God will transform our state of mind
If we seek His will and wisdom;
Then in our hearts one day we’ll find
The majesty of His kingdom.

The Pharisees asked Jesus when the kingdom of God would come, He replied, “The coming of the kingdom of God is not something that you can observe, and say of it, ‘Here it is,’ or ‘See, there it is,’ because the kingdom of God is among you.” Then He said to His disciples, “The time is coming when you will long to see one of the glorious days of the Son of Man, but you will not see it. People will tell you, ‘There he is!’ or ‘Here he is!’ Do not go running off after them. As lightning flashes from one end of the sky to the other, so will it be with the Son of Man. But first he must suffer many things and be rejected by this generation.” (Luke 17:20-25)

Reflection

Our Lord’s response to the Pharisees’ question about when the kingdom of God was to come seems at first to be incongruous. First, He said, “The kingdom of God is among you,” referring to Himself as already in their midst. (17:21) Then three verses later, He said, “As lightning flashes from one end of the sky to the other, so will it be with the Son of Man.” (17:24) It would seem that Jesus was making a prophecy about His second coming, when He would suddenly make His appearance like a flash of lightning, for all to see. In the first verse, Jesus was presenting himself as the personification of God’s kingdom, now present before them. The kingdom of God wasn’t merely coming in the future, it was already present in Jesus Christ.

The kingdom of God here on earth is not a visible area enclosed by borders, nor with a huge palace with beautiful architecture. His kingdom is in everyone, just as God Himself is everywhere, pervading everything. Everything comes from God, He created all things. His Kingdom is in the hearts of all men who bow to their Heavenly King and offer themselves in service to His rule. When we conform our lives to His will, then His kingdom is “among us.” But when we disobey His precepts and decrees, then we fall away from His kingdom.

The word that best describes God’s kingdom is Wisdom. “She penetrates and pervades all things by reason of her purity. For she is an aura of the might of God and a pure effusion of the glory of the Almighty, therefore nothing that is sullied enters into her.” (Wis 7:24-25) When we disobey any commandment of God, we fall into sin, and thus ‘sullied’, we can never hope to gain wisdom, or enter the kingdom of God. But thanks to His mercy, there is always hope available for us through the sacrament of reconciliation, or Penance.

The kingdom of God is something we come to be, as a result of our obedience to God’s will. It is the sum of all our prayers, good works, and meditations on the Word of God. We are all part of the kingdom of God. As St. Paul said in his letter to the Ephesians, (2:20-22), we are members of a “building that has the apostles and prophets for its foundations, and Christ Himself for its main cornerstone. As every structure is aligned on Him, all grow into one holy temple in the Lord; and we too, in Him, are being built into a house where God lives in the Spirit.”

Every time we receive you in the Holy Eucharist, Lord, we believe that Your kingdom is in our midst. May You always reign in our hearts forever. Amen.

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