St. Leo the Great, Pope & Doctor of the Church
Philemon 7-20 + Luke 17:20-25
November 10, 2016
“‘But first He must suffer greatly and be rejected by this generation.’”
In today’s Gospel passage, Jesus describes the phrases “the Kingdom of God” and “the Son of Man”. The meanings of both are elusive, and that’s Jesus’ point.
In the Pharisees, who ask “when the Kingdom of God would come”, we can see many in our own day who exert great effort in predicting and spreading news of the time of this coming. Jesus splashes cold water on them all: this coming “‘cannot be observed, and no one will announce, “Look, here it is”’”. Along the same line, Jesus soberly explains to the Pharisees that while they “will long to see one of the days of the Son of Man,” they “will not see it.”
However, in the midst of this sobering up, Jesus declares something provocative, if not confusing. “‘For behold, the Kingdom of God is among you.’” So while the coming of the Kingdom “‘cannot be observed,’” it already “‘is among you.’” How are we to understand what seems on the surface like a contradiction? Perhaps such understanding ought only be sought by the Pharisees of old. Perhaps our part is simply to live within the Kingdom of God, under the shepherding of the Son of Man.