When will the kingdom of God come? When will the world end? When will Christ make his second coming? Will more people be saved than lost? All these questions were put to Our Lord, and have been asked by every generation since his life on earth. There is a natural curiosity about the future. But Our Lord does not want us to know the future, except those things that will help us in our own spiritual development. In the gospel of today’s Mass, they ask Jesus when will the kingdom of God come. He understands that they are thinking in terms of a great army marching into the Holy Land, expelling the Roman occupiers, and setting up a government something like that of the great Jewish kings, David and Solomon, a thousand years previously. And so he answers, “The coming of the kingdom of God cannot be observed, for the kingdom of God is among you.” That word “among” can also be translated, “within.” It is not a matter of a particular nation, with definite boundaries, a capital, a ruler of some kind, laws, postage, coinage of its own. It is a matter of faith in God, hope in the coming of Christ, love for God and neighbor. These things can take possession of the heart of anyone, anywhere. That is what the kingdom of God is.
Some years ago, I was in a parish in which there were two houses just across the street from the church. They were side by side. In one house, there was a loving family, peace, harmony, devoutness, love. Right next door, there was alcoholism, constant fighting, one son on drugs, one daughter so neurotic that she was almost insane, and utter misery for all who lived there. I used to look at those two houses and reflect that in one house the kingdom of God flourished; in the other, there was hell on earth. When Jesus tells us that the kingdom of God is among, and within, us, he is primarily referring to himself. Jesus is God; he brings the kingdom of God by giving himself to the world, to us individually. He takes up his residence, his abode, in our hearts and minds, our homes, our activities. Saint Catherine of Siena tells us that we should live in God and permit God to live in us, as the sponge is in the sea and the sea in the sponge. We want God, and specifically Our Divine Lord Jesus Christ, to permeate every fiber of our being. We want to be totally, utterly Christian. And I use that word in its proper sense, which is “Christ-like.” Some so-called Christians are not Christ-like at all. We must examine ourselves frequently by asking: Am I truly Christ-like? Am I living the life that Jesus wants me to live? Am I an authentic citizen of the kingdom of God? Thank you for seeking God’s truth. God bless you. Father Victor Brown, O.P.
Note: This message was composed some years ago.