December 1, 2017 – Friday in the 34th Week of the Church Year

Saint for the day; Charles de Foucauld (1858 – 1916)

Scripture Readings for today’s Liturgy:

Daniel 7:2-14 – Daniel 3:75 …81 – Luke 21:29-33

“Stand erect and raise your heads because your redemption is at hand.’

(Today’s “Alleluia Verse” before the Holy Gospel is proclaimed)

When Jesus says, “The Kingdom of God is ‘near’ – or ‘among’ – us” what does that mean? My first thought would have to be that it is not something that is “out there” or a “pie-in-the-sky” promise of what might come at the end of our life. This thought brings me back to my basics: “be here NOW!” This is it! It might appear that it’s not working but we don’t have anything else to go to or give reference to it being “greener on the other side!” Our lives with all their ups and downs – which parallel the entire story of salvation history with its “exoduses” and “temple satisfactions”, should be able to show us that our entire life is a journey. And what a journey with its mixture of joys and sorrows and ups and downs. And still, we are promised, “I am with you till the end of time.” The “Kingdom (presence) of God” is right here – NOW!

When I was in Israel in the Fall of 1983 with the “Israeli Study Program” we spent a week camping in the Sinai Wilderness. In our preparation for that “journey” Fr. Leslie Hoppe, OFM – our Biblical Archeologist – kept reminding us that there was probably no accurate record that any large group of Israelites ever wandered through the territory where we were going. Of course I asked, “Why are we then doing this?” The answer: because this reminds us that even though we might be considered “God’s Chosen People” we have to understand that our “journeys” are going to take us through life and that means that we are going to ebb and flow in and out of God’s favor. But… God will never forsake us. Yes… we might get involved in snake worship or worship of false Gods … but OUR God will always be there because His Kingdom … yes, you got it … IN AMONG YOU! Now, this doesn’t mean that we can Waller in whatever kinds of deviations tickle our fancy and count on that “death bed conversion.” Turn it around and you’ll see that it means God is always there (His Kingdom is ‘within’) to call us back to that more pure relationship. How many times will He forgive us? 70 times 70! Infinitely and unlimited forgiveness. Bottom Line: our journey begins with opening the door when the Lord knocks; having willingness to follow Him wherever He goes and never to give up on his promise “I will be with you in all times!” And I keep coming back to Him and asking Him, “father, forgive me for I have sinned against Heaven and you…” Forge to the greener grass on the other side of the hill. The best is right here under our noses. Amen!

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