The Gospel according to Luke (17:20-25)
Asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, he 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.
Reflection: I remember as a young child my parents told us we would be visiting friends in the San Fernando Valley. I had no clue where that was, but we were told it was very far. We left our home in East L. A. and were on the freeway in minutes. Then we stayed on the freeway for what seemed like an eternity. Finally, we got off the freeway and immediately I was confused. After having traveled so far, I was not expecting to see neighborhoods and people just like in the little piece of my barrio. It felt like we had gone in a big circle. Like we had never left home.
In today’s gospel we encounter a people who did not realize what was already before them. Their long journey of suffering with the expectation of deliverance and the coming of the reign of the Kingdom of God made it difficult for them to see that the deliverer was in their midst. The Pharisees challenged Jesus to identify when the Kingdom of God would be established. And Jesus seemed to increase their expectation that it was imminent. They were preparing for and expecting something in the future. However, Jesus says something profoundly significant that should affect the life of any Christian, “The Kingdom of God is among you.”
It is easier for us to see today what some believed but many struggled with, that Jesus was the Messiah, the Son of God, the Word made flesh. While many insisted on looking elsewhere Jesus was saying, Here I am. I am the one who will make it possible for the Kingdom to come. And here is the best part, you do not have to wait. The kingdom is already here!!! Jesus established the kingdom through his presence and ministry of healing and teaching.
One more thing, there are some translations and interpretations of this verse that say. “The kingdom of God is within you.” We are all pilgrims on our way home, home being heaven. Yet on our way we can receive the graces of heaven in our everyday lives. We can experience the presence of Jesus therefore the heaven within us responds with the recognition of our redeemer. And, with the grace that comes with any encounter with Christ, we can help others become more aware of the heaven within them.
Action of the Day: Heaven is not a place it is a state of existence in the presence of Jesus. With that thought in mind examine if you are aware of his presence. Do you see Him a lot, a little, not much?? What can you do to change that.