Then he told them a parable: “Look at the fig tree and all the trees; as soon as they sprout leaves you can see for yourselves and know that summer is already near. So also, when you see these things taking place, you know that the kingdom of God is near. Truly I tell you, this generation will not pass away until all things have taken place. Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.
As we come to the end of the liturgical year tomorrow, today’s Gospel finds Jesus instructing us about the reign of God. The reign of God, or the “kingdom of heaven” as it is often translated, stands out as a theme of all three synoptic Gospels (Matthew, Mark, and Luke). At the start of his public life Jesus had proclaimed that the reign of God was at hand in him.
By the reign (or rule) of God is meant God’s saving power at work in the world now through Jesus that will, at the end of time, completely triumph over the forces of sin and death and usher in the world of a transformed humanity. But this is a long process that faces much opposition and stretches out to the end of the world.
Daily we pray in the Our Father “Thy kingdom come,” and “thy will be done” which comes to the same thing. As we approach Advent we can ask the Lord to reveal to us where in our lives he does not yet reign and to give us the grace to be open to his saving power.
—Fr. Bob Bireley, SJ, is a member of the St. Camillus Jesuit Community in Wauwatosa, WI.
throughout the ages you inspire heroic men and women
to preach your gospel
and proclaim the truth of your love.
We pray that the example of St Edmund Campion
may encourage us to stand up for what it right;
to hold to what is true;
and to love even those who persecute us,
for Christ’s sake. Amen.
—Adrian Porter, SJ for the feast of St. Edmund Campion, SJ