NOVEMBER 11. Ord Time B. Wk 32. Thu. Lk. 17 20-25
Asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God was to come, Jesus gave them this answer, ‘The coming of the kingdom of God does not admit of observation and there will be no one to say, “Look here! Look there!” For, you must know, the kingdom of God is among you.’
He said to the disciples, ‘A time will come when you will long to see one of the days of the Son of Man and will not see it. They will say to you, “Look there!” or, “Look here!” Make no move; do not set off in pursuit; for as the lightning flashing from one part of heaven lights up the other, so will be the Son of Man when his day comes. But first he must suffer grievously and be rejected by this generation.’
It is interesting the Pharisees wanted to know “when the Kingdom of God was to come” as they had rejected all of Christ’s teachings; - but still wanted to know when this new ‘Kingdom’ was to be created.
But just at interesting was Christ’s response to their query, as the Kingdom was not one that was going to be announced at any particular time, nor was anything going to be seen; - in fact the Kingdom was already here; - “For you must know, the Kingdom of God is among you!”
And Christ’s answer still applies today, in that the Kingdom is not one to be seen; - nor can anyone point it out; - but it is here among us as we speak; - “The Kingdom of God is among us today; - for those who believe!”
What Christ was revealing was a whole new concept; - a spiritual kingdom, and a spiritual life, which we are all invited to embrace. Where the difficulty is, for the Pharisees and for unbelievers is that Faith is a prerequisite!
We have to believe in this spiritual kingdom which we have been invited to join; - and this spiritual life which Christ has invited us to embrace; - after not only providing us with its teachings and values; - but also bearing witness to how it was to be lived.
And in the second half of the reading this fundamental requirement for Faith continues; - “‘A time will come when you will long to see one of the days of the Son of Man and will not see it. They will say to you, “Look there!” or, “Look here!” – but there will be nothing to be “seen,” – all we will have will be our Faith!
The Kingdom of God is not meant to change our material circumstances, nor is there any pomp or ceremony attached to it; - but rather it is meant to change our hearts and minds; - to bear fruit by alerting us to the spiritual life dwelling within us; - and which has both a spiritual and material impact on our lives, as a result of our Faith in Jesus Christ and his teachings.
The disciples, initially thought they would have this wonderful experience of introducing the Kingdom to the people where they would be seen as leaders, and they would be “successful” because Christ would assist them in this work, however now they are warned this is not the way of the new Kingdom.
This discourse took place as Jesus headed to Jerusalem for his Passion, something the disciples now had to be introduced to; - “The Son of Man must suffer grievously and be rejected by this generation! This new Kingdom had some new and unexpected characteristics!
Gospel Acclamation Jn15:5
I am the vine and you are the branches, says the Lord;
those who live in me, and I in them, will bear much fruit.
First reading Wisdom 7:22-8:1
Wisdom is a breath of the power of God
Within Wisdom is a spirit intelligent, holy,
unique, manifold, subtle,
active, incisive, unsullied,
lucid, invulnerable, benevolent, sharp,
irresistible, beneficent, loving to man,
steadfast, dependable, unperturbed,
penetrating all intelligent, pure
and most subtle spirits;
for Wisdom is quicker to move than any motion;
she is so pure, she pervades and permeates all things.
She is a breath of the power of God,
pure emanation of the glory of the Almighty;
hence nothing impure can find a way into her.
She is a reflection of the eternal light,
untarnished mirror of God’s active power,
image of his goodness.
Although alone, she can do all;
herself unchanging, she makes all things new.
In each generation she passes into holy souls,
she makes them friends of God and prophets;
for God loves only the man who lives with Wisdom.
She is indeed more splendid than the sun,
she outshines all the constellations;
compared with light, she takes first place,
for light must yield to night,
but over Wisdom evil can never triumph.
She deploys her strength from one end of the earth to the other,
ordering all things for good.