Thursday, November 12, 2015

“Reality depends a great deal upon one believing what he sees—or seeing what he believes. Either way.”

“What we do see depends mainly on what we look for. ... In the same field the farmer will notice the crop, the geologists the fossils, botanists the flowers, artists the coloring, sportmen the cover for the game. Though we may all look at the same things, it does not all follow that we should see them.”
John Lubbock: (1834 – 1913): English Scientist & philanthropist
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.”
Sometimes hidden forces are the most powerful. Think about the work that goes into digging a canal: huge machines, lots of noise, noticed by everybody. Now compare that with the Grand Canyon in the United States of America. It’s a slower process, and at least at first you wouldn’t even notice what was happening, but the final results are much more impressive. No excavation crew could ever have completed such a beautiful project!

In today’s Gospel, Jesus teaches us about the most powerful unseen force of all: the kingdom of God. He explains that the coming of this kingdom isn’t accompanied with a lot of fanfare, and many don’t notice it. Rather, Jesus’ humble coming in the flesh was the inauguration of the kingdom, and that was a very quiet beginning. But from that point on, everything was different. The kingdom’s forces are now at work in a new way, and it’s only a matter of time before Jesus takes up his reign in a much more public way.

So we live in an “already, but not yet” time. God’s kingdom truly is among us, but it is not yet fully visible. This isn’t always easy for us. We want to see more; we want to experience more, but God is asking us to exercise our faith and trust in his unseen presence and his invisible power. He wants us to live in hope—not a wistful denial of reality, but a sure and certain assurance that his kingdom truly is with us. We can be peaceful and trusting, knowing that Jesus, our King, is in control, and we will eventually see his very public return in glory.

So our time is one of both rest and activity. We rest in God and his promises, but we are also active as agents of the kingdom. Sometimes our work is nothing more than admiring the work of the mighty river as it carves out the magnificent architecture of the kingdom. But at other times, we can point out this work in progress to someone else. And at all times, we can give thanks to our King, who is always at work in the world around us.

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