Luke 17: 20-25
Once Jesus was asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God was coming, and he answered, “The kingdom of God is not coming with things that can be observed; nor will they say, ‘Look, here it is!’ or ‘There it is!’ For, in fact, the kingdom of God is among you.” Then he said to the disciples, “The days are coming when you will long to see one of the days of the Son of Man, and you will not see it. They will say to you, ‘Look there!’ or ‘Look here!’ Do not go, do not set off in pursuit. For as the 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 endure much suffering and be rejected by this generation.
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved (http://www.usccb.org/bible/approved-translations)
One occasionally sees bumper stickers or coffee mugs emblazoned with the following piece of advice: “Jesus is Coming. Look Busy.” Such a sentiment, aside from depicting a marketer’s notion of cleverness, is a reminder that we easily weary of waiting for the coming of the Kingdom; we often lack the “joyful hope” of which the mass speaks. Most of us do not live with the expectation that Jesus’ return to judge the living and the dead is imminent. When our hope falters, the Kingdom can seem at best a dream and a worst a delusion.
“Behold, the Kingdom of God is in your midst.” These words of today’s Gospel are a reminder that our hope is not without its foretaste in the present. Jesus could say to his hearers that the Kingdom was in their midst because he was in their midst. Only in Jesus lies the fullness of our hope, though veiled behind a humble human visage. Encounters with the hidden Lord are sprinkled across the pages of Scripture and Christian history, as some have entertained angels unaware, or as St Martin of Tours divided his cloak with the poor beggar who was Jesus in disguise.
Yet for us an encounter with the hidden Lord is no farther away than the nearest tabernacle. Silent adoration of the Blessed Sacrament—what better means to shore up our tottering hope in the coming of the Kingdom! For within the sanctuary of the Eucharistic species the Kingdom is already present, and our prayer manifests joyful hope of its total fulfillment at the end of time. Moreover, “the Kingdom of God is within you,” as this verse is also translated, whenever you receive Jesus in this same sacrament. Thus do we become vessels-earthen, to be sure- of expectation, vessels of mercy, vessels of peace, vessels in whom the Kingdom already overflows.
—Sam Conedera, S.J.
Lord, sometimes the tasks of the day can feel a bit overwhelming. We can experience a fatigue that builds as the day moves forward. Maybe we need to step out of the daily grind. Unless we give ourselves permission to pause, to relax, to embrace your Spirit in the details of our day, we will be worn down. We need to claim the reality that the Kingdom of God is within us. Suddenly that which seems so serious is put into perspective; that which evokes fear within us is calmed, and the gratitude that once delighted us is renewed. Lord, with great anticipation we move through this day, confident that your Kingdom will be experienced as we live for you and for those whose lives press against our own.
—The Jesuit Prayer Team