When traveling, particularly by car, with a small child, there is one thing you can be sure you will be asked. It doesn’t matter if you have been gone five minutes or five hours. You are going to be asked the dreaded question, “Are we there yet?” You can explain until you are blue in the face, you can try anything you like, the child just doesn’t quite get the concept of how long it will take to reach your destination. That question, are we there yet, is an interesting parallel with the Gospel reading for today. The Pharisees are asking Jesus about the Kingdom of God. When will it arrive? Or, “Are we there yet?” Were they looking for a physical place, a land to drop from the sky, with a flashing neon sign announcing “Kingdom of God, This Way ”? Perhaps they expected a Kingdom that would be politically and militarily powerful, one that would chase out the Romans, re-establish the political power of Judah, maybe even do a little conquering of their own. They wanted to know when the Kingdom of God would come, they wanted to know, “Are we there yet?” I don’t think they were ready for the answer, the answer that, yes, we are there. Jesus told them, or tried to, that the Kingdom of God isn’t what they expected. The Kingdom was there, among them, in the Word they were hearing, in the faces of the poor and the hungry and the homeless and the sick. The Kingdom wasn’t coming, the Kingdom had come. They just couldn’t see it. I’m not sure that our vision is any better. The Kingdom of God is here now all around us. I’m afraid we expect the wrong thing as well when we think of the coming of the Kingdom of God. What do we expect? What do we think the Kingdom of God should be? We, too, look for the wrong things. We expect power, we expect everyone to agree with us, we expect proof that we were right! But that’s not where we will find the Kingdom of God either. It is not in our power or our control, but in our ability to surrender power, to give up control, to turn to God and realize that all is God’s. The kingdom is all around us in the faces of those who are hungry and homeless and poor and ravaged by war and in need of our help. There is the Kingdom of God, if we will only look and see that, indeed, we no longer need to ask are we there yet, for we are.
Thursday of the 32nd Week in Ordinary Time
Nov. 16, 2006