Thursday November 10, 2005 Homily by Fr. Robert Altier Thirty-second Week in Ordinary Time
Reading (Wisdom 7:22b-8:1) Gospel (St. Luke 17:20-25)
In the Gospel reading today, Our Lord is asked when the kingdom of God would come, and Jesus tells us two things. Number one, it cannot be observed. It is not something that is going to be external. It is not like there is going to be some kind of palace that is established where the king is going to reign and it is going to be easy to see where the boundaries are, because it is something that is spiritual. He says, The kingdom of God is among you. Indeed, the kingdom of God is within. On the outside, we can say that the kingdom of God is the Church, and the Church, of course, is within each person. There is not a boundary where the Church is established, but rather wherever a person who fully believes in the truth happens to be, there the Church is, there the kingdom of God is present. Further, we can say that if we have faith, the Holy Spirit dwells within. And so the kingdom of God, as Jesus tells us many times over and over again, is within us. That kingdom of God is that seed which was planted in us at the moment we were baptized, and it is to grow.
As we heard in the first reading from the Book of Wisdom telling us about Wisdom, we are told that she enters into souls from age to age and she produces friends of God and prophets. That is precisely where the kingdom of God is going to be found. If we are truly friends of God, then we have that Spirit within us. If we are striving to be holy souls that she would enter into, then the kingdom of God is within. That is what the Lord is asking us to be able to develop. Then we do not have to be running around looking for Him. As He tells us, do not say, “Here He is,” or “There He is,” because He is right inside. All we have to do is look within.
We have Him right here with us in the Blessed Sacrament, but we carry the Holy Trinity within us 24 hours a day if we are in the state of grace. When you receive Holy Communion, then you have Our Lord present within you sacramentally for a period of time (20 minutes – a half hour, somewhere in there that He is right within you in the sacramental presence). But even when the sacramental presence disappears, you still have that indwelling presence of the Lord within, and you carry Him with you out into the world. So you are never alone, and the kingdom of God is brought out into the world anytime that we walk out into the world. That is why there is not a boundary. That is why we cannot say, “Here He is,” or “There He is,” because there is no way of being able to quantify the reality of God’s presence. We simply need to know where we can find Him, and that is within.
This is critically important for us in every generation but more so today because I think we are living in exactly those times that Our Lord told us about in the Gospel: You will long to see one of the days of the Son of Man and will not see it. I don’t know about you, but last year would not have been soon enough. Two or three years ago would not have been soon enough, and we have not seen it. But it is okay because He is right here with us, and all we need to do is go within and there we will find Him. If we get focused on all the external things and we get ourselves all worked up about all the evil going on in the world, then we take our focus off of Him and we lose our peace. But if we keep our focus on Him then we do not need to worry about all the things going on in the world. Let the devil and his minions do their thing, because we have the Lord; and as long as we have Him and we are united with Him then we can be at peace. The kingdom of God is right there and we have nothing at all to fear. That is what we have to be focused on, now more than ever, because the Day of the Lord is at hand and if we are not focused on Him inside we are never going to be able to recognize what He is doing on the outside.
So do not worry about looking for Him here or there, or running around to this place or that, it does not matter. Just go inside and there you will find Him. There you will find also the place where He wills to be enthroned, in the palace that He has created for Himself–your soul, your heart. That is where He wants to be enthroned. That is where He wants to be worshiped. That is where He wants to have your companionship. And into your holy soul, the Holy Spirit enters in order to produce a friend of God and a prophet.
* This text was transcribed from the audio recording of a homily by Father Robert Altier with minimal editing.