I think all of us appreciate clarity and certainty. We don’t like “not knowing.” Part of our human psyche begs to know the answers. We want to prepare and plan and get ready. It is simply part of our human nature.
The Pharisees ask Jesus a simple question today. I think I would like to know the answer to this question just as they did. “When will the kingdom of God come?” Jesus answers the question by saying that the Kingdom of God is already here, among us. Does that answer satisfy us? It did not seem to satisfy the Pharisees.
The Kingdom of God is present when we discern and obey God’s will in our lives. When we think that we have discerned and obeyed God’s will, we are invited to go a little deeper. When we feel comfortable in our life with God, we are reminded by the Gospel that there is always more to discern. The Gospel constantly challenges us. Conversion of life is an ongoing struggle. It is not a “one and done” kind of thing.
There are so many examples of men and women who entered into the Kingdom of God and looked for new and better ways to serve God. Perhaps St. Paul is the best example of someone who really believed that he was right with God until that fateful day on the road to Damascus. St. Augustine led a dissolute and sinful life for thirty-two years before turning to God. However, there are also examples among good Christians who never stopped looking for ways to enter the Kingdom of God. St. Teresa of Calcutta was already a Sister of Loretto teaching in a mission school in India when she realized that God was calling her to a deeper involvement in God’s Kingdom through service to the poor. Pope Francis was a 76 year old cardinal who was getting ready to retire when he was elected Pope. Since that time he has challenged all of us to reexamine our faith, our relationship to the poor and our relationship to the environment.
The Kingdom of God is among us. The Lord gives us the strength of the Holy Spirit to guide us in our never ending quest to enter it.
Fr. Lawrence Jagdfeld, O.F.M., Administrator