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The Coming of the Kingdom
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.’
The human condition is one of constant uncertainty. No matter how organized we may consider ourselves to be, we still trip over those obstacles that challenge our self-created and self-serving equilibrium. Different personality types find different ways in which to order their daily lives. Many people rely on diaries as a vehicle for bringing order to bear on the potential mayhem of our earthly existence. We do not trust our memories; we worry about our work/life balance; we like to consider ourselves as being in total command of what we will or will not do. But … things are rarely that simple. Our compulsion to be ‘in control’ lets us down on a regular basis because we leave no room for God to be at work in our lives. As we seek to create the ‘perfect’ life for ourselves we miss the blindingly obvious. As we organize our days, allocating time to work, leisure, family, hobbies and, perhaps, good works we miss that which should be driving our lives … the constant presence and inspiration of God.
In today’s reading Jesus is asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God was coming. These were learned men who had a sound knowledge of the scriptures … they were conversant in the signs they were looking for. But still they stood before Jesus, the Son of God, and asked their nonsensical question! A nonsensical question that so many are still asking.
Jesus’ response serves as a reminder to us all … Jesus tells us to stop looking for the spectacular and have faith. As Jesus stood before those Pharisees he must have seemed a contemptuous figure. He did not fit their notion of someone called to be a Messiah. The Pharisees saw an itinerant preacher who was also a trouble-maker – one who challenged the long-established order of things. But … we know the truth about Jesus. We see the stupidity of the Pharisees because we know where his suffering and rejection were destined to lead.
The challenge of today’s reading is counter-cultural to many. We are being called to set aside our passion for organizing every moment of our lives and to acknowledge the omnipresence of God. We are called to leave unallocated spaces in our diaries and to allow God to fill them with his ambitions and hopes. We are called to recognize that the Kingdom of God is already with us.