Go, eat rich foods and drink sweet drinks, and allot portions to those who had nothing prepared; for today is holy to our LORD. -Nehemiah 8:10
Yet know this: the Kingdom of God is at hand. -Luke 10:11
It seems that for the last few years the only thing more common in the media than stories of bad news, disasters, and destruction have been commentaries of how the media is full of stories of bad news, disasters, and destruction. There are even terms for it such as, “News Fatigue,” and, “Doomscrolling.” The general consensus seems to be that we live in unprecedented times, with terrors on every side. But, for us individually, is it really that unique?
In today’s gospel, Jesus says, “I am sending you like lambs among wolves.” The world of Israel, in the time of Jesus was not a peaceful place. Jesus lived in a land that was occupied by a conquering army. There are political and religious divisions on every side. And yet, Jesus also says, “The kingdom of God is at hand.” The kingdom of God and its closeness to us was a common theme in the teaching of our Lord. He encouraged his disciples to share this message with everyone they meet. The kingdom of God is at hand. So how do we recognize the kingdom of God when all we see around us points in a different direction? According to Jesus, we do this by blessing others. And if they do not accept the blessing? Do we curse them? Rail against them? No! We simply shake the dust from our feet and go on.
This may sound like a gross oversimplification. Surely, aren’t we called to speak truth to power? To protest against the injustices we find in the world? Yes, we are called as Christians to both of these and more. But all the while we are to keep ourselves focused on the kingdom of God, which is always at hand. It is only through living in the kingdom of God that we are able to guard ourselves against despairing and losing our way.
My prayer for myself today is that I am able to hold within my heart the kingdom of God and share it with all those I meet.
Talib Huff is a retired teacher and a member of the retreat team at Christ the King Passionist Retreat Center In Citrus Heights, California. You can contact him at [email protected].