We all long for heaven where God is, but we have it in our power to be in heaven with him right now--to be happy with him at this very moment. But being happy with him now means: loving as he loves, helping as he helps, giving as he gives, serving as he serves, rescuing as he rescues, being with him for all the twenty-four hours, touching him in his distressing disguise. -MOTHER TERESA
Gospel text (Lk 17,20-25):
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."
Then he said to his disciples,
"The days will come when you will long to see
one of the days of the Son of Man, but you will not see it.
There will be those who will say to you,
"Look, there he is," or "Look, here he is."
Do not go off, do not run in pursuit.
For just as 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 suffer greatly and be rejected by this generation."
Paraphrasing Charles Dickens, we can say, “these are the best of times, these are the worst of times.” To one day be living in a country apparently so secure, so wealthy, so advanced, so strong, so gifted, and so blessed, and the next day to be living in the same country now so threatened, so fearful, so sorrowful, and so struggling is a mystery and a challenge. Many are asking: How can this be? What happened? Where is our God who has been with us for so long? Where do we turn, who do we trust, and what do we do? What do we tell our children and our young adults?
As I reflected on today’s Gospel, this was the verse that really grabbed my attention. If someone told me that Heaven was all around me, I do not know what I would think. When we ponder the many problems in the world, from abortion and hunger to poverty and disease, we may ask ourselves how this could reflect Heaven, a place of perfection. But perhaps it is because we merely see with our eyes. God, however, does not see with eyes like us. He sees with the eyes of the heart. What would we see if we saw life through God’s eyes rather than through our own?
Most perfectly, however, the Kingdom of God is found in the Mass. Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior, is present every day to us in the Eucharist, yet how many times do we actually take advantage of that wonderful opportunity? The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is the pinnacle of the Kingdom of Heaven on Earth, for God himself is truly present to us. We cannot see the great gift of the Mass through human eyes. With the eyes of humanity, we merely see neighbors and friends eating bread and wine, but with the eyes of the heart, with the eyes of Faith, we see our brothers and sisters in Christ partaking in the feast of Heaven and earth, physically holding and becoming one with Christ Jesus. He is the greatest gift we could ever receive. Yet how many times are we bored with the Mass? How many times do we wish we were making better use of our time? The Kingdom of God is literally there with us, but we never seem to notice.