now & not yet

When we hear about the Kingdom of God most of us think of a future reality, the eternal life we are invited to share with God when our earthly life is complete. This life of the Kingdom of God is a central fact of our faith. The death that we experience at the end of our earthly life is much more of a birth than it is a death. It is a transition into the life for which we are created.

In the first reading today from the prophet Isaiah we hear  “The Lord says, I am about to create new heavens and a new earth,” a life “to be a joy and its people to be a delight”.

But we don’t have to wait until we die to experience this life. Jesus taught that the Kingdom of God “is among you.” It is now, but it is also not yet.  It may be as imperceptible as the tiny mustard seed, but life with Jesus is offered to us on this earth. The moment of the beginning of this new life in the new heaven and the new earth is baptism.

Here on earth we are all too aware that we are only beginning to live this life and often are caught up in daily anxieties and earthly preoccupations. But the fact remains that our eternal life, our life with God, has begun.

With the new eyes that are ours when we are in relationship with Jesus we are able to glimpse the beginnings of eternal life and joy, often in the most unlikely moments and situations. With our new ears we hear echoes of hope, even in the most difficult of struggles.

It is tempting to grasp at these moments and to hold them as if they were the full reality. But these graced moments are only signs and if we hold onto them expecting perfection we will soon be disappointed.

The traveller who embraces the signpost because it is labelled with the name of the destination will never reach the destination. The sign is important, but it can do little more than show direction and give a welcome indication that we are on the right road.

In today’s gospel Jesus said to the royal official whose son was near death: “Unless you people see signs and wonders, you will not believe.”

An invitation:

Make a decision right now to spend the next day with hypersensitivity to the signs of God in the people and events of your day. You will be surprised how much this simple decision helps you to live with the eyes and ears of faith, and to savour the joy of this new life.
6 Responses to "now & not yet"
  1. It is a habit at our place to pray together as a family in the evening after dinner, and what you probably don’t know either is that it is becoming a habit to use food for faith reflection of the day, as part of it. It gets chrome casted into the living room TV where it is much easier to read aloud while following with the actual reading in screen by everyone in the room. I guess that your well known DEVELOPING A RELATIONSHIP WITH CHRIST gets much facilitated by your column and in someway it is much more effective (my personal view) and adapted to current change of era than the Sunday preaching or even, no offense intended, to some higher theological content/elaborated wording written press/articles/church dogma.
    So in short, I can guarantee that food for faith is of GREAT value in our family, giving us the opportunity, on the right settings to discuss and “educate” our children with your guidance.
    The change of text color at the end conclusion/invitation is a master’s move!

  2. How can the kingdom of God be among us and yet still to come? Perhaps it is like planning a honeymoon… that the joys of anticipation are great…and worth the waiting…… The “Our Father” says…..”may Your kingdom come on earth…….as it is in heaven” and so when we worship like the angels and love with the patience, kindness and mercy of God….we can be part of that heavenly kingdom and we can help it come…..even here on earth….

  3. John your reflection draws me to the concept of “grace notes” in music, those oft missed notes which fleetingly appear over the harmony of the score and tantalisingly offer a further and deeper dimension to the music. These notes are often skipped by less skilled musicians and even less heard but add richness and sparkle to the music. God offers grace notes into all of our lives if we are tuned to hear them when they are played

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