The Kingdom of God is among you. (Luke 17:21)
The Pharisees asked: When will the kingdom of God come? St. Cyril of Alexandria, in his commentary on this passage, presumes that the Pharisees were taunting Christ. They mocked the crowds who believed that Jesus would sweep into Jerusalem and take over the government. The Pharisees knew that, in fact, a cross awaited the Galilean rabbi. So they spoke of the “kingdom of God” with sarcasm.
Lord Jesus had already declared: “No one can see the kingdom of God—without being born from above.” He had said that during His conversation with… Nicodemus, recorded in John’s gospel, chapter 3. I think that John 3 contains keys that can unlock many mysteries for us, so we will study that chapter in detail during Advent, at our talks before Sunday Vespers at St. Joseph’s, beginning on Christ the King Sunday, a week from this Sunday (4:30pm).
Anyway, the Lord repeated the same idea here in Luke 17. No one can see the kingdom of God without being born from above, without being born anew of the Holy Spirit. You cannot see the reign of God here or there, in this town or that country, as if God were a politician or a petty potentate. You cannot tell that God reigns by a flag flying in front of the post office or the police station.
God reigns always and everywhere, according to His transcendent, omnipotent power, which leaves everyone perfectly free. He doesn’t give parking tickets or impose taxes or draft people into military service. He simply demands total obedience and love, and leaves us free to respond.
“The Kingdom of God is among you.” “The Kingdom of God is within you.”
In the Sacred Heart of Christ, God reigns perfectly, as God wills to reign. The reign of God is the peace of Christ, the perfect obedience of Christ to the will of the Father, the all-consuming love of the Son for the Father–and for all the Father’s children.
The reign of God in the Heart of Christ is among us—in the Blessed Sacrament, and in all the works of Christ’s love which happen through the mystery of the Church. And the reign of God in the Heart of Christ is within us, too: When we believe in Him, the Holy Spirit loves with Christ’s love in our own hearts, because we are members of His one body.