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Know that the Kingdom of God is near. (Luke 21:31)

Have you noticed how many of our readings the past couple of weeks have focused on Jesus’ triumphant return at the end of time? Certainly, it’s a good thing to think about here at the end of the liturgical year, and it’s good to be prepared to welcome the Lord when he returns. But many of these passages, like today’s Gospel, can also be read in the light of the kingdom’s presence among us right now. Yes, there is more to come, but we are already living in that new creation in which Jesus, the crucified and risen Lord, reigns.

What does it look like and feel like when God lives in the midst of his people? Here’s one way to think about it. As we head into the holiday season, you will likely have many opportunities to see God working among your family, friends, and community. All of these can be signs of what life in God’s kingdom is like.

For instance, you might notice how the shelves of your local food bank are overflowing, not only with necessary staples, but with special treats as well. Or you might see a toy collection box filled with gifts for children at a local shelter. You might notice one of your neighbors visiting the elderly couple down the street and helping them decorate their house. You might even be surprised by a relative’s openness to share what’s going on in their life or their desire to reconcile with you.

Now, it’s easy to see God’s kingdom breaking into our world through the selflessness or generosity of the people around us. But the kingdom is also at hand when situations don’t look quite so heavenly. Sometimes family gatherings become contentious. Or the gift giving of the holiday season only makes you feel more lonely. Or severe weather highlights the plight of the homeless. But the kingdom is still there. Jesus is there, suffering with the poor and mourning over our divisions. He is there, embracing us in our isolation.

Indeed, Jesus is King. We can see and know it no matter what life throws at us. And that gives us hope.

“Jesus, give me eyes to see signs of your kingdom right here and right now.”

Revelation 20:1-4, 11–21:2
Psalm 84:3-6, 8


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