Luke 17:20-25 - Thy Kingdom Come (1)
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."
This passage is a cornerstone for every consideration about evangelization. Quite similarly to what we have stated yesterday regarding the volatile character of mystery, “the coming of the Kingdom of God cannot be observed.” The Kingdom of God does not simply consist in a just society with accomplished laws, perfect education, and a peaceful environment. The Kingdom of God is not simply the ideal version of the Kingdom of Man. As for the latter, “there will be those who will say to you, ‘Look, there he is.’” But the Kingdom of God is more than visible accomplishments or measurable justice.
“The Kingdom of God is among you,” Jesus says. And yet, we do not quite see it. Precisely because it is a reality which transcends our human sense of accomplishment. Jesus has come to proclaim His Kingdom and He has invited us to enter it. Only by looking at the gates that lead into it can we fathom how different it is from a Kingdom of Man: The “main gate” is baptism, which means to die with Christ in order to resurrect with Him ("First he must suffer greatly and be rejected by this generation" - Luke 17:25). The “small doors” in our everyday life are the apparently insignificant deeds such as feeding the hungry, visiting the sick, or bearing patiently those who wrong us - to name just three out of many works of mercy. The “backdoor” through which we can re-enter the Kingdom after getting ourselves lost is confession.
All in all, these “doors” all highlight that the true place to look for the Kingdom of God is “among us,” and the things that are changed by His reign are the hearts and not merely the structures. Changed hearts will then, of course, also change the structures. The evangelization of culture, therefore, can only happen after the evangelization of hearts.
If you want to marvel at the beauty of Christ’s Kingdom contemplate the hearts of His faithful servants. The saints - and really each person in the state of grace - constitute the amazing citizens of His glorious Kingdom. The saints live “among us.” They make society better bo doubt; but they are not the products of society. They are the fruit of God’s doings, they are the inhabitants of His Kingdom. In order to belong to that Kingdom, you must allow Him to introduce you into it, to guide you through its sacramental gates of grace. The Kingdom is your true fatherland in which you will thrive and become the best version of yourself. Jesus is your true King who will lead you to the deepest happiness. “Thy Kingdom Come!” is the battle cry for a humanity in pursue of God-given fulfillment.