Once 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.
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.
Earlier in Luke’s Gospel, Jesus tries to explain what the kingdom of God is like. Using images of the mustard seed and yeast, Luke leaves his readers with the sense that despite small beginnings, the kingdom will indeed grow.
For his hearers, who expect a Messiah to come in a visible display of power, Jesus tries to rid them of the notion that the kingdom will suddenly appear by fiat, and that we can concern ourselves merely with the timing of it all. Rather, Jesus points to the cross as the path through which God’s reign would come.
In the Spiritual Exercises, St. Ignatius describes God as one who “labors” with us. Like the one who plants the seeds or mixes the yeast with flour, we are called to be co-laborers with God in the here and now.
What are the signs of the kingdom’s presence in your life and community? How can your labor today be leaven for the kingdom?
It helps, now and then, to step back and take a long view.
The kingdom is not only beyond our efforts, it is even beyond our vision.
We accomplish in our lifetime only a tiny fraction
of the magnificent enterprise that is God’s work.
Nothing we do is complete,
which is a way of saying that the Kingdom always lies beyond us…
We may never see the end results,
but that is the difference between the master builder and the worker.
We are workers, not master builders; ministers, not messiahs.
We are prophets of a future not our own.
—Excerpt of A Step Along the Way by Bishop Ken Untener of Saginaw, MI, commonly attributed to Archbishop Oscar Romero
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