The Kingdom of God is among you

– Memorial of St Martin of Tours –

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.” [Luke 17:20-21]

Here Jesus addresses the question that must inevitably arise in the heart and mind of every Christian at some stage: when will God intervene to bring about a better world? We have recently seen the conclusion of the first assembly of the Plenary Council. Much commentary has accompanied this, and hope has been projected onto it as an opportunity for God’s intervention. It is, of course, right to hope that a communal action of the Church will produce results according to its terms of reference.

In this Gospel, however, Jesus warns us against too much reliance on the success of external events, as a sign that God has finally done something! Once again, I am struck by the radical nature of Jesus’ words. He is saying that there will be no external signs heralding the coming of the Kingdom because it is already here. The greatest sign of this is in the person of Jesus himself, who announced its arrival at the beginning of his public ministry. (Luke 4:18)

It is of course true that the kingdom has not reached its fullness yet. There is an in-between time in which the good must suffer and be rejected, as was Jesus.

As Christians we need to seek out those signs of the kingdom present to us, and pray that we can, each in our own way, contribute to its upbuilding.

Can I see God’s activity in the pain and suffering around me? If not, why not? Am I just waiting for things to get better, and feeling increasingly dispirited because “nothing” is happening?

I pray Lord that you will open my eyes to the presence of your kingdom here and now, and that you will give me the courage to contribute to it.


By Janiene Wilson

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