No longer will your Teacher hide himself, but with your own eyes you shall see your Teacher, Isaiah 30:20
As you go, make this proclamation: ‘The Kingdom of heaven is at hand.’ Matthew 10:7
What great news there is in our readings today! Isaiah speaks of the goodness of God that is to come. He paints a beautiful picture of the abundant blessings that will be ours. And not only will there be material blessings, but God Himself will no longer be hidden from our eyes. All of our past hurts will be healed, and, even more important to those of us in California, there will be rain for our crops! And Jesus says that time is here! That time is now!
And yet, if we look around, we see something different. We seem to be farther away from the Kingdom of God than ever before. How can the Kingdom of God be “at hand,” when what we see about us is war and strife, pain and suffering, hatred and fear? We find ourselves surrounded by the deepest human suffering while heated discussions over whether a coffee cup’s design truly expresses the spirit of the season are big news.
The responsorial psalm tells us that, “blessed are all who wait for the Lord.” So maybe we just need to sit quietly and await that bright day when God will lift us up and bind our wounds. Perhaps, but I think Jesus is proposing another way to ‘wait for the Lord.’ Jesus instructs His followers to go out and seek those who are in pain and to give freely.
Maybe the way to truly see the Kingdom is to step forward and meet those who are suffering and give them aid. Curing the sick could be taking the time to speak with someone who is sick at heart with grief. Raising the dead could be giving hope to one who has lost it. No great miracle is needed.
There is a saying that goes, “Fake it till you make it.” Maybe if I go around, greeting people as if the Kingdom of God IS at hand, carrying the Kingdom of God in my heart, helping those around me, it really will be at hand.
Maybe the way to turn a holiday cup into a Christmas cup is to fill it and give it to someone who is thirsty.
Talib Huff works and volunteers at Christ the King Retreat Center in Citrus Heights. You can contact him at [email protected].