*REFLECTION CAPSULE *
*Based on Lk 17: 20-25*
In the 1990s, there came an advertisement in promotion of the fizzy drink: Coca-cola… especially during the thick of some cricketing action.
>> The promotion lines went thus: Eat cricket, sleep cricket, drink only Coca-cola.
The ad was to infuse a greater mood of the game and to promote the use and consumption of the cola drink.
The Gospels, with Jesus as the greatest promoter, would have a promotion line, with a similar phrasing: Eat Kingdom, Sleep Kingdom, Drink Kingdom, Work Kingdom, Live Kingdom!
Are we ready to collaborate with Jesus, to infuse a greater spirit of the Kingdom in the world and to promote the reach and spread of the Kingdom of God?
The Gospel of the Day is a teaching on the Kingdom of God.
The Pharisees ask “when” the kingdom will come (Lk 17:20)…
>> Jesus however explains “how” the Kingdom will come (17:22-35)
Jesus does not give an answer to the question of the Pharisees.
>> Rather, He makes them to realize what should be the proper question.
It’s the style and technique of the Lord to get right the priorities and focus in life!
The people searched for Jesus after the miracle of the multiplication of loaves…
> Jesus sets right their intentions by speaking of the need to hunger for the bread of life (Jn 6)
The disciples of John came to clarify whether Jesus was indeed the Messiah to come…
> Jesus sets right their focus by turning their attention to all His signs and deeds (Lk 7:19ff)
The two disciples, James and John, sought for privileged places in Jesus’ future reign…
> Jesus sets right their priorities by exhorting them to grow rather in humility and service (Mk 10: 35-45)
Nicodemus, in his encounter with Jesus, remained on peripheral questions and doubts…
> Jesus sets right his doubts by calling his attention on living a life in the Spirit and being born anew spiritually (Jn 3: 1-21)
The Lord loves to challenge our doubts, theories & even convictions…
… in order to be in harmony with the priorities of the Kingdom.
>> Am I willing to allow the Lord to work in me to change some of my thinking patterns, that would be in accord to His Will?
>> Am I flexible to let the Lord to mould and shape my lifestyle and thus be in tune with the focus of His Kingdom?
The “Kingdom of God” is an oft-repeated phrase in the New Testament and especially in the Gospels.
What is the Kingdom of God?
A kingdom normally brings to picture a geographical territory, with its clear-cut boundaries and its rulers and citizens.
The Kingdom of God, is however, quite different!
>> The Kingdom of God is not a geographical dominion like worldly kingdoms!
The Kingdom of God is a spiritual reality where God’s Will is done.
It is a person…
>> It is He – Jesus… GOD HIMSELF!
“Jesus leads people to realize the overwhelming fact that in Him, God is present among them and that He is God’s presence… (from the book, “Jesus of Nazareth – Part I” by Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI)
The Pharisees who asked Jesus on “when” the Kingdom would come, were probably expecting an external sort of a Kingdom.
>> They probably expected a Kingdom which would overturn and overthrow the Roman Government.
>> They probably expected a Kingdom where perfect peace and harmony would reign all over the world.
But Jesus clarifies the nature of this Kingdom…
He speaks of a Kingdom which is much more internal & spiritual, and whose impact would be felt and experienced in the external world.
One experiences the Kingdom of Heaven first in one’s inner life…
… and this is manifested in one’s external lifestyles…
The Samaritan Woman experienced the power of the Kingdom of God within herself, when she spoke to Jesus, the fountain of life…
>> And this experience of the Kingdom led her to proclaim the name of Jesus to all her villagers & bring many to the saving fold of the Lord.
The Disciples experienced the power of the Kingdom of God within them, when the Holy Spirit descended on them…
>> And this experience of the Kingdom was manifested in their bold and powerful witnessing life!
St Paul experienced the force of the Kingdom of God within him, when he encountered the Risen Lord on the way to Damascus…
>> And this experience of the Kingdom was displayed by him through his passionate life of preaching and missionary works.
In the Prayer, the Our Father, we pray:
“Thy Kingdom Come,
Thy Will be Done…”
>> The Kingdom of God is, where the Will of God is fulfilled.
>> The Kingdom of God reigns, where the Will of God is in control.
The whole ministry of Jesus was centered around this “Kingdom of God” concept.
>> He began His ministry preaching that the Kingdom of God is near.
>> He spoke parables and spoke many teachings of the presence of the Kingdom of God.
>> He performed great signs and wonders to tell that the Kingdom of God is in our midst.
The question arises before us:
Is the Kingdom of God here?
>> Or is the Kingdom yet to come?
This is where we speak of the concept of “Already and not yet”
The Kingdom of God is already here, but not yet!
>> The Kingdom of God already reigns now, but not yet, in its fullness!
As St Paul says in 1 Cor 13: 12, “At present, we see indistinctly, as in a mirror, but then face to face. At present, I know partially; then I shall know fully, as I am fully known”.
Do I experience the Kingdom of God in my life?
The Kingdom of God is not a matter of food and drink, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit (Rom 14:17)
>> I need to experience the joy and the peace of the Lord in my life…
>> I need to place the priorities of God over all else in my life…
>> I need to radiate the precious love of the Lord to all in my life…
That’s the Kingdom of God.
>> That’s the Reign of God.
We are invited today “to radiate heaven on our faces”!
Yes, let us Eat Kingdom, Sleep Kingdom, Drink Kingdom, Work Kingdom, Live Kingdom!
>> May we become a “Kingdom People!
Today, 14th of November, India celebrates Children’s Day
As we pray for children all over the world, on this day…
… let us also seek to “remain childlike” – especially with virtues of deeper trust and dependence…
>> And thus, live joyfully as Children of God’s Kingdom!
*God Bless! _Live Jesus!_*
*- Fr Jijo Jose Manjackal MSFS*
*Quotable-quote-a-day-with-St Francis de Sales (SFS)* – “ _God desires from us more fidelity to the little things that he places in our power than ardor for great things that do not depend upon us.”_