REFLECTION FOR TODAY
November 11, 2021
By Fr. Andrew Ibegbulem, OSA
Asked by the Pharisees when the Kingdom of God would come, Jesus said in reply, “The coming of the Kingdom of God cannot be observed, and no one will announce, ‘Look, here it is,’ or, ‘There it is.’ For behold, the Kingdom of God is among you.” Luke 17:20–21
The question of the Pharisees in our gospel reference today was not an innocent one but an attempt to trap Jesus in what he would say. In the question, they gave the appearance of believing Jesus’ teachings that the Kingdom of God was coming, but they asked not in faith but in mockery and to trip Jesus up in His answer.
Jesus reply to the Pharisee was among the most shocking of his teachings second to his declaring people’s sins forgiven. How can the kingdom of God’s triumph over all his enemies possibly be present while the promised land remained occupied by the oppressor of the Jew?
The answer of Jesus remains mysterious and leaves little room for the Pharisees to use Jesus’ speech against Him. Perhaps the Pharisees were hoping that Jesus would say that the Kingdom was coming soon, or next month, or within the year. But Jesus’ answer leaves them with confusion in the face of this mystery that “the Kingdom of God is among you.”
The response of Jesus can only be fully understood through faith. The truth remains that wherever Jesus is present, wherever he is honored and loved, the kingdom of God is present. The kingdom still must come in all its fulness at the end of time, but each one of us who has given our heart to Jesus and strive to follow his command can testify to the blessings of that kingdom in our lives here and now
In truth, Jesus often speaks in veiled language intentionally, because the only way to lift the veil to perceive the meaning of His teachings is to rely upon the inspired gift of faith. Faith is like a key to unlock the secrets of the mysteries of God. Faith becomes a lens through which every parable, every figure of speech, and every mystery taught by our Lord is understood. But without this inspired gift of faith, Jesus’ teachings remain mysterious and incomprehensible.
When you ponder these words that “the Kingdom of God is among you,” what do you understand? Are you able to use the gift of faith to unlock the meaning of this sacred teaching? Interestingly, reading Jesus’ words, spoken in a veiled way, offer us the opportunity to test our own faith. If we read His words and are left in confusion, then this is a clear sign that we need to pray for and be open to the gift of faith. But if we do read Jesus’ mysterious teachings and the light of understanding is given to us, then this is a clear reason to rejoice, since this comprehension is only possible through the gift of faith.
Reflect, today, upon this sacred teaching of our Lord: “The Kingdom of God is among you.” Meditate on those words and pray for insight and understanding. Jesus’ words are true. His Kingdom truly is everywhere, all around us and within us. It is alive and well. Do you see it? Do you perceive it? Do you see your role in building it? Use these questions as a test of your own level of faith and know that God wants to reveal to you these mysteries that are only able to be comprehended by His grace.
Lord, Your Kingdom is everywhere, all around us and within us. I do believe. Give me the eyes of faith so that I may continually perceive Your hand at work. May I always be attentive to all that You wish to reveal to me and open to the deep meaning of the mysteries You do reveal. Increase my faith, dear Lord, so that I may know You and join in the upbuilding of Your glorious Kingdom. Jesus, I trust in You.