Perceiving the Kingdom of God

November 11, 2021
Thursday of the Thirty-Second Week in Ordinary Time
Readings for Today

 Saint Martin of Tours, Bishop—Memorial

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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

Why did the Pharisees ask Jesus this question? Why did they want to know when the Kingdom of God would come? To answer this question, we must first look at the full context of the various communications between Jesus and the Pharisees. When we do this and see the many ways that the Pharisees attempted to trap Jesus in speech and the times in which our Lord firmly rebuked the Pharisees, it seems clear that the Pharisees did not ask Jesus this question in innocence and openness. Instead, they once again were trying to trap Him. They posed a question by which 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 in an attempt to trip Jesus up in His answer.

Jesus’ answer is mysterious. It 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.”

Much of what Jesus says can only be fully understood through faith. He 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.

My mysterious 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.

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Saint of the Day –  Saint Martin of Tours, Bishop

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Featured image above: Christ among the Pharisees by Jacob Jordaens, via Wikimedia Commons

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