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THE KINGDOM OF GOD ON EARTH
Fr. Steven Scherrer, MM, ThD
Homily of Thursday, 32nd Week of the Year, November 14, 2013
Wis. 7:22-8:1, Ps. 118, Luke 17:20-25


"Now when He was asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, He answered them and said, ‘The kingdom of God does not come with observation; nor will they say, "See here!" or "See there!" For indeed the kingdom of God is within you'" (Luke 17:20-21 NKJV).


We now live in the kingdom of God if we have faith in Jesus Christ, for the kingdom of God is within those who believe in him. Jesus brought the kingdom of God into the world, for it was present in him. His exorcisms indicated that the power of the kingdom was active in him. "If it is by the finger of God that I cast our demons, then the kingdom of God has come upon you" (Luke 11:20).


We can now live in this kingdom of peace with God, this kingdom of peace on earth, through our faith in Jesus Christ, for he has redeemed us from the sadness, depression, and guilt caused by our sins by suffering their just punishment for us on the cross, thus freeing all who believe in him from this suffering. In the sacrifice of his death he is the propitiation for our sins offered to God (Rom. 3:25; 1 John 2:2). He propitiated God for our sins in his death because in his death he made just reparation for them, satisfying God's justice and placating his wrath (Rom. 1:18; 5:9) against us for our sins. The good news, the gospel, is that through our faith in him we are made new men and a new creation, washed in his blood and freed from sin.


In this way God justifies us, making us truly righteous and resplendent with the righteousness of Christ himself. To live like this is to live in the kingdom of God on earth. It is to live in peace on earth with God. It is to have the kingdom of God within us, within our heart. It is to live in this kingdom of heavenly peace in our heart. Therefore Jesus tells us today that "the kingdom of God is within you" (Luke 17:21 NKJV). The Greek used here for "within you" is entos hymon, whose primary meaning is "within you" or "inside of you." Indeed, the kingdom of God is within us.


We are to live in this kingdom, and this kingdom should be inside our heart. God puts this kingdom of peace with himself in our heart through the death of his Son on the cross. When we receive and accept him with saving faith, we begin to live in the kingdom of God, and the kingdom of God enters into our heart. Through our faith in him and through the sacraments that he left us, especially the sacrament of reconciliation (John 20:22-23) and the Eucharist, we live already in the kingdom of God on earth. We live in peace with God, with his Spirit rejoicing our heart like rivers of living water running through us (John 7:37-39).


We also live in hope of the glorious return of Jesus Christ on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory with all his saints in great light to consummate all things. We prepare ourselves now for this sudden coming, "for as the lightning flashes and lights up the sky from one side to the other, so will the Son of man be in his day" (Luke 17:24). We want to be ready when he comes, with our sins behind us, repented of, and forgiven, for when he suddenly comes, there will be no more time to repent, but only to be judged. Hence Jesus gives us many warnings to be prepared now, for we know neither the day nor the hour of his coming (Matt. 24:42, 44).

 

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