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-translation
Today’s Feast of Saint Josaphat celebrates a monk of the Eastern Church who was put to death during sectarian violence in the Ukraine, when believers who were united with the Catholic Church found themselves in violent confrontation in their own towns and neighborhoods with other Christians aligned with the Eastern Orthodox Churches. Josaphat didn’t wake up that day knowing that it would be his last, and most of us won’t have much warning either.
The gospel today reminds me of all those places in the various gospels where Jesus, in speaking about the end of the world, or the end of our lives, says, “You will know neither the day nor the hour,” implying that we need to always be ready to encounter God’s justice, judgment, and mercy. Knowing that God loves us, we should long for God’s loving-kindness and mercy.
When Jesus says, “The Kingdom of God is among you,” he means that he is an indispensable ingredient of God’s Kingdom. We have all heard fundamentalist Christians trying to count up various numbers and so-called “clues” in the Scriptures to figure out when the end times are coming. Jesus tells us instead to pursue our lives with hope and virtue, and to allow him to accompany us every step of the way!
—Fr. Michael A. Vincent, S.J. serves as associate pastor of the Church of the Gesu, University Heights, OH.
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 among 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 TeamPlease share the Good Word with your friends!