The Pharisees asked Jesus when the kingdom of God was to come. He answered, «The kingdom of God is not like something you can observe and say of it: ‘Look, here it is! There it is!’. See, the kingdom of God is among you».
And Jesus said to his disciples, «The time is at hand when you will long to see one of the glorious days of the Son of Man, but you will not see it. Then people will tell you: ‘Look there! Look here!’. Do not go, do not follow them. As lightning flashes from one end of the sky to the other, so will it be with the Son of Man. But first He must suffer many things and be rejected by this people».
Though this question of Pharisees can be considered very much genuine and normal, we have to ask ourselves, why should I worry about this final day, the day of judgement? This question may interpellant in us as a refusal for the immediate conversion, waiting sturdily for the final and exact time for the conversion. Till then I take advantage of all that are simply charnel and pleasure.
Jesus seems to point to us that God’s Kingdom is already established, or on the process of establishment by the very fact of incarnation. It is already here and now. No one can predict the hour of the Lord.
All that is expected from the children of God is to live the present time in a meaningful way, by using the divine wisdom that God has entrusted to us, right from the beginning of the creation. This divine wisdom, if searched and desired, will accompany us and help us to identify the signs of the Kingdom of God, the presence of God amidst us.
Daily Quote from the early church fathers:
Don't pursue human glory, by John Cassian (360-435 AD)
"If the devil has been driven out and sin no longer reigns, then the kingdom of God is established in us. As it is written in the Gospel, 'The kingdom of God does not come with observation, nor will they say, 'Lo here,' or 'Lo, there.' Truly I say to you that the kingdom of God is within you' (Luke 17:20-21). The only thing that can be 'within us' is knowledge or ignorance of the truth and the affection for righteousness or sin by which we prepare our hearts to be a kingdom of Christ or the devil. St. Paul described the nature of this kingdom in this way: 'For the kingdom of God is not food and drink, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit' (Romans 14:17). If the kingdom of God is within us and is righteousness, peace and joy, then someone that remains in these is surely within the kingdom of God. Someone that remains in unrighteousness, conflict and the melancholy that kills the life of the spirit is already a citizen of the devil's kingdom, of hell and of death. These are the signs whether it is God's kingdom or the devil's." (excerpt from CONFERENCE 1.13.5)
«The kingdom of God is among you»
Fr. Josep Mª MASSANA i Mola OFM
Today, the Pharisees ask Jesus, with a mixture of interest, curiosity, fear... something that has always been of interest for all of us: when will the Kingdom of God come over? when will it be the last day, the end of the world, Christ's return to judge the living and the dead in the day of the Last Judgment?
Jesus tells them that this is unpredictable. We only know that it will suddenly come, without notice: it will be «As lightning» (Lk 17:24), a sudden occurrence, full of light and glory, at the same time. As for other circumstances, Jesus' second advent remains a complete mystery. But Jesus gives us a true and certain clue: as of now, «the kingdom of God is among you» (Lk 17:21). Or: «inside you».
The great event of the last day will be a universal accomplishment, but it also happens in the little microcosm of each one's heart. It is there where we must actually seek the Kingdom. Heaven can be found deep inside us, where we must also find Jesus.
This Kingdom that unpredictably will start “outside” may commence right now “inside” us. The last day starts its configuration right now, inside us. If we want to be allowed into the Kingdom in that last day, we must let the Kingdom get inside us, right now. If we want Jesus to be our merciful judge in that particular moment, we better make him right now our best friend and our inside guest.
St. Bernard, in a sermon for Advent, speaks of the three advents of Christ. The first advent, which we now commemorate as Christmas; the third advent, is the Parousia, the advent in which Christ will come to judge the living and the dead, and to take us to himself. Then St. Bernard explains the second, or middle, advent as the “time of visitation” by which Christ is now present and active in each of our lives. It is there, where the first and the third advents appear on a personal and experienced level. Jesus' verdict on Judgment's day must already be resounding now in our heart. That, which has yet to arrive, is already now a reality.