Thursday of the Thirty Second Week in Ordinary Time
Fact: There is pain, suffering, unrest, chaos in this world.
Expectation: A perfect, ideal world of order, peace and joy.
This has been, is and will be a state of the world as long is it exists. Many have tried to imagine a world beyond ours. Philosophies, theologies, literature – all originated or had/has at its heart this reality vs expectation; the KINGDOM, HEAVEN.
Jesus’ entry into the mainstream wa announced as: The Kingdom is near. And when Jesus announces the same Kingdom at several occasions, one for instance as we read in today’s gospel, “The Kingdom of God is within you.” Jesus echoes (in his own style) what many enlightened ones said: “Don’t look elsewhere… the absolute is within you”, “make the journey within…”
Now, this has been a cause of great agony for me. Does this mean, there is no ‘other-world’ that depends on my life here… this is what I have been told from my childhood. Is heaven for real?
In the light of “kingdom of God is within you,” I was taken up by what two of my professors said.
- Kingdom of God is within you implies you have the freedom and power to win the kingdom of God. You choose to do what you must, to enter the Kingdom (i.e. Heaven is real). It is not predestined, but, upto you.
- Does kingdom denote a world order where peace, order, joy reigns? You want these? Kingdom of God is within you. You can choose to be disturbed or affected (here negatively. It could affect one positively to take up a social cause) by the present world order of chaos and destruction. Let me use the same example, that was given to me. When someone shouts at me, I have the choice to shout back or remain silent or calm. By shouting back, i.e. reacting, I multiply the evil/chaos. On the contrary, if I choose to remain silent or not react and remain positive, the evil/chaos is nullified and thus establish order, peace and joy, thereby establishing the Kingdom.
In either case, ‘Kingdom of God is within you,’ gives us the power to choose what we get.