Thursday of the Thirty-second Week in Ordinary Time
(Philemon 7-20; Luke 17:20-25)
It is often said that the biblical Kingdom of God is better rendered Reign of God. The reason given is that the concept indicates a dynamism more than a territory. Something similar may be said about heaven. Although people may point to the sky when they say the word, heaven is more a condition of love than a physical locale. In today’s gospel, Jesus stretches the idea of Kingdom of God even more.
Jesus tells the Pharisees that the Kingdom of God is neither a place nor a thing. He adds that it is “among” them. He may be referring to a relationship with himself. The Kingdom of God is friendship with Jesus himself. He provides all the security and support, the joy and the affection that makes life worth living. Since he will rise from the dead, the Kingdom of God will likewise never know a sunset.
Jesus extends his hand to form a relationship with us daily. He is present to us physically in the Eucharist where we actually take him into ourselves. The experience does not diminish him, but it does expand us. Having his love and support, we can become as gracious and happy as he. We become bearers of the Kingdom to others.