Thursday of the Thirty-second Week in Ordinary Time
(Wisdom 7:22b-8:1; Luke 17:17-25)
The man, humbled by years in prison, declared that he took special note of Jesus saying, “The kingdom of God is within you.” This is a possible rendering of a sentence from today’s gospel which the New American Bible renders as “…the Kingdom of God is among you.” Self-help promoters prefer the former translation because it underlies the vast human potential available when people discipline their appetites and focus on what they wish to achieve. But does it render completely satisfactorily what Jesus means by the presence of the Kingdom of God?
Pope Benedict in the first volume of his trilogy on Christ calls the Kingdom of God none other than God Himself. Yes, God does lie within every righteous person but what Jesus wants to convey is that God has come to the world to arrest the forces of darkness and to bring reconcile sinners to Himself and to one another. God has arrived precisely in his messenger-son, Jesus Christ, who dies as humanity’s servant. Tying ourselves to Jesus by Baptism and the Eucharist, we are freed from the dominance of the ego and can submit ourselves gladly to the ways of divine love.