Mal 3:19-20a
2 Thes 3:7-12
Lk 21:5-19

Grabbing hold of the Kingdom
At a recent Sunday liturgy I watched a Eucharistic minister make the sign of the cross on the forehead of his four year old son. His son looked up at his dad and then leaned into his dad’s legs and grabbed hold of them. After a moment or so he let go and followed his mom back to the pew.

As I looked at the gospel of November 18th this image came to my mind. I find it hard to balance that desire to hold on to how I meet God in the here and now and be free enough inside to be ready for the next life. I encounter this paradox often. I remember in my late teens and twenties being somewhat reluctant to make good and deep relationships. My spiritual focus at that time was more on the here after, not the heaven at hand.

There was a kind of safety in having friendships that rode the waves, but didn’t touch the bottom. The inner heart spot that had roots was saved for the mystical God and of course my family. It took a really dear friend to challenge my surface friendships. I have come to appreciate the people in my life who have made my life mystical (who have made God present) in the here and now. So when I hear the gospel of November 18th, I feel like the child at last week’s liturgy hanging on his dad’s legs, unsure what will be there if I let go of the known and dear.

The gospel reading invites me to remember the foundation that Jesus has given me. This foundation roots me in the here and now and invites me to seek the whole kingdom, that which I see and that which is yet to come. I don’t think Jesus is asking us to ignore his teachings on “the kingdom being at hand.” I think instead He is reminding us as he did to those clinging to the physical beauty of the temple, that this isn’t all there is.

The gospel message gives us both roots and wings. Our challenge is to keep our hearts open so that the Spirit of Wisdom can guide us to the temple wherein God dwells.