Thursday, Thirty Second Week in Ordinary Time
Memorial of St Josaphat, Bishop and Martyr
Phm 7-20; Ps 146:6-10; Lk 17:20-25
THE KINGDOM OF GOD: NOT A SHOW OR CARNIVAL
The attitude of the Pharisees towards Jesus was one of skepticism. Jesus did not get caught in the paralysis of analysis and waste time explaining to them about his second coming. In any case, they were not willing to recognize even his first. In the Gospel today, he talks of a two-fold nature to the kingdom; a present and a future dimension. The kingdom of God is already an inaugurated reality in him, and the final consummation lies in the future when he will come in divine glory – an “already but not yet”! And this coming will be unmistakable and sudden. However, rather than be tensed about the future, it is better to live the present in the light of the Gospel.
Pope Francis, reflecting on this passage, says, “The Kingdom of God doesn’t come in a way to attract attention…It’s not a show or…a carnival…it doesn’t like publicity: it’s humble, hidden, and grows thus.” On another occasion he said, “The kingdom of God is not a spectacle; spectacles usually are ‘the caricature of the kingdom of God’. Jesus describes the kingdom of God as a feast, which is different, but too often ‘our human weakness prefers a spectacle.’”
Belief in the kingdom invites acknowledging, accepting and acting on the crosses of life by carrying them. And this is not to be understood as a ritual exercise merely in the season of Lent, but the bearing of crosses daily. This is preparedness, when Christ will come again and judge.
Dr Joseph Stowell, of Moody Bible Institute, once visited a home for mentally challenged children run by a Christian friend. Noticing the children’s handprints on the windows, Dr Stowell remarked about them to his friend. “Oh, those,” he replied. “The children here love Jesus and they’re so eager for him to return that they lean against the windows as they look up at the sky.” That’s not a mentally challenged way to live! That’s a faithful waiting for the coming King and Kingdom!
Responsorial Psalm: Blessed is he who is helped by Jacob’s God.
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