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” (Lk 17:20-21).
Many of the Pharisees were scrutinizing Jesus’ every word and action, unfortunately, with a hard heart. They were closed to the reality present before them because they were looking for ways to accuse him, to catch him, to have cause to show him to be a fraud. They were closed to the actual events happening around Jesus that the blind saw, the deaf heard, the lame walked, lepers were healed, the dead had arisen, and the poor had the good news proclaimed to them (cf. Matthew 11:5).
They missed the very reality that the Kingdom of God was in their midst. We see this very much today through a mental posturing of “scientism”, the belief that the only reality is that which can be measured empirically, through the five senses. Scientists have brought about many advances and innovations that we enjoy today, yet there is a reality beyond the physical. This is the spiritual, which transcends time and space, transcends the three dimensional reality that we experience and are aware of through our senses. We understand the world around us best when we embrace both the physical and spiritual, as well as our reason and faith.
If our mind is closed to an idea, a reality, and/or a belief we will not only resist believing, we will also seek rationalizations to explain it away as did some of the Pharisees. From a hyper sensitivity to only the physical, we can brush off acts of synchronicity as mere coincidence. While if we are open to a spiritual reality of interconnectedness beyond that which we can measure in a finite way, these incidences can be termed God-incidences.
We cannot solve or prove God like a problem because God is not in the genus of being, he is not an animal, a human, an angelic, spiritual, or even a supreme being. There are no words to adequately describe him. We can say more about what he is not than what or who he is! The best attempts we have are in the phrasing of St Thomas Aquinas, that God is an Infinite Act of Existence. Or as God said to Moses, “I am, who am” (Exodus 3:14). God is completely transcendent, beyond categories, beyond genus, beyond the grasp of our finite minds, yet we can experience him because God is closer to us than we are to ourselves.
The most unique and powerful way we come to know God is through Jesus, who is fully divine as the Son of God and fully human, born of Mary. Jesus reveals the Father to us. As we spend time with Jesus, in personal prayer and communal worship, through the hearing and study of his word, in the sacraments, through our interactions and service with one another, and allowing ourselves to meditate and contemplate in his presence, we come to know Jesus. We also come to know God his Father, and the love shared between them, the Holy Spirit. As Jesus said to Philip, “Whoever has seen me, has seen the Father” (Jn 14:9).
The Kingdom of God is among us because Jesus is who he said he is. Jesus is the Godman in our midst. This calls for a change on our part. We need to let go of anything that prevents us from coming closer to him. May we allow Jesus to be Jesus and resist the temptation to compartmentalize, overanalyze or to limit who Jesus is.
May we be still before his presence so to allow him to free us from our own limitations, sins, fears, doubts, and anxieties. May we not so much seek to bring down, confine and limit him to our finite perspective, but pray for Jesus to expand, our minds, hearts, and souls so our awareness can be broader and deeper such that we experience his presence in our daily life.
Photo: Roberta Veracruz Mexico by robygfurber at cathopic.com