14 November 2013. Thursday of the Thirty Second Week
Wis 7:22ff. Wisdom reaches from end to end and governs all things well.
Lk 17:20ff. The reign of God is not “out there” but is already among us.
First Reading: Wisdom 7:22-8:1
There is in her a spirit that is intelligent, holy, unique, manifold, subtle, mobile, clear, unpolluted, distinct, invulnerable, loving the good, keen, irresistible, beneficent, humane, steadfast, sure, free from anxiety, all-powerful, overseeing all, and penetrating through all spirits that are intelligent, pure, and altogether subtle.
Wisdom is more mobile than any motion; because of her pureness she pervades and penetrates all things. For she is a breath of the power of God, and a pure emanation of the glory of the Almighty; therefore nothing defiled gains entrance into her. She is a reflection of eternal light, a spotless mirror of the working of God, and an image of his goodness.
Although she is but one, she can do all things, and while remaining in herself, she renews all things; in every generation she passes into holy souls and makes them friends of God, and prophets; for God loves nothing so much as the person who lives with wisdom.
She is more beautiful than the sun, and excels every constellation of the stars. Compared with the light she is found to be superior, for it is succeeded by the night, but against wisdom evil does not prevail. She reaches mightily from one end of the earth to the other, and she orders all things well.
Gospel: Luke 17:20-25
Once Jesus was asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God was coming, and he answered, “The kingdom of God is not coming with things that can be observed; nor will they say, ‘Look, here it is!’ or ‘There it is!’ For, in fact, the kingdom of God is among you.”
Then he said to the disciples, “The days are coming when you will long to see one of the days of the Son of Man, and you will not see it. They will say to you, ‘Look there!’ or ‘Look here!’ Do not go, do not set off in pursuit. 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. But first he must endure much suffering and be rejected by this generation.
Where can we find wisdom?
At the centre of life lies wisdom, or according to Luke’s gospel, the reign of God. This wisdom “penetrates and pervades all things.” We in turn are called to an integral life, and to form such a bond of union that the kingdom of God is among us.The Book of Wisdom sees human integrity as coming through wisdom, this virtue that is God’s supreme gift. It presents our God as compassionate and good – always and everywhere creatively at work in our world.
But we become impatient when things go awry in our world and like the questioners, we press Jesus to answer, “When will the reign of God come?” In reply, Jesus puts aside one part of the question, when. The kingdom of God is not to be identified with a point of time; this is a warning to those who try to predict the end of the world on such and such a day. He also refuses to locate the reign of God “here” or “there.” There is no particular, all-holy place where the kingdom dwells, as though one place is better than another. Jesus’ answer is baffling but also consoling: The reign of God is already in your midst.
Personally rooted within our hearts, the kingdom of God has already begun, through the presence of Jesus who dwells within us. Here we can already taste the sweetness of eternal life. Here we may imbibe the strength to be strong and loyal, for God’s wisdom lives in the human heart at its best.