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When and Where?

Fr. Lawrence Jagdfeld, O.F.M., Administrator

The Gospel for today's liturgy finds Jesus still answering the when and where questions about God's realm. Although he has been very clear in telling the Pharisees that God's realm is in the here and now, the disciples raise the question again. Jesus' answer today approaches the issue from the perspective of the other side of the coin. God's realm is now but not yet; it is here but also there.

You may remember that wonderful night in 1969 when men first visited the surface of the moon. The images from that space adventure still fascinate and enthrall us. One of those images is a picture of the earth from out in space. Our planet looks like a blue marble, half in light and half in darkness. It was the first time that we saw the entire planet all at once. Up until that time, we human beings were only capable of seeing the part of our environment in which we were located. Our minds and experience of living on this planet told us that the world was round. However, this was the first time that our experience was corroborated by factual evidence. We could see the whole thing, the entire planet.

When we consider the time and place of eternity, our human minds attempt to "locate" it in these familiar terms of human reference. We experience our existence as occupying a particular space and existing at a particular moment in time. I am writing this blog in my reclining chair in my bedroom at approximately 5:30 AM on Friday, November 11, 2011. Our language and our experience limit my experience to a very small part of God's realm. God, on the other hand, is far too "big" to be so located. Life with God in eternity cannot be hemmed in by these frames of reference.

Jesus attempts to broaden the understanding of God's realm for the disciples by once again returning to the issue of "readiness." He uses examples from their history: Noah and Lot. Reminding them of how suddenly the world of Noah and Lot were destroyed and replaced by a different reality, Jesus points to the reality of God's realm for which one can only be prepared. Lot and Noah were saved because they were ready to move, to do God's bidding, to listen to God's commands and to act. Trying to answer the when and where of God's realm is futile activity. Rather than engage in futility, let us rather engage in being prepared.

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