Lectio Divina: Luke 17:20-25
1) Opening prayer
God of power and mercy,
protect us from all harm.
Give us freedom of spirit
and health in mind and body
to do your work on earth.
We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
2) Gospel reading - Luke 17:20-25
When asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God was to come, Jesus gave them this answer: "The coming of the kingdom of God comes not with observation and there will be no one to say, "Look, it is here! Look, it is there!" For look, the kingdom of God is within you."
He said to the disciples, "A time will come when you will long to see one of the days of the Son of man and will not see it.
They will say to you, ’Look, it is there!’ or, ‘Look, it is here!’ Make no move; do not set off in pursuit; for as the lightning flashing from one part of heaven lights up the other, so will be the Son of man when His Day comes. But first He is destined to suffer many things and be rejected by this generation.”
• Today’s Gospel gives us the discussion between Jesus and the Pharisees on the coming of the Kingdom. The Gospel today and that of the following days deal with the coming of the end of time.
• Luke 17, 20-21: The Kingdom is among you. “Asked when the Kingdom of God was to come?” Jesus answered “The coming of the Kingdom of God does not come with (through) observation and there will be no one to say, ‘Look, it is here! Look, it is there! For look, the Kingdom of God is within you!” The Pharisees thought that the Kingdom could come only after people would have reached the perfect observance of the Law of God. For them, the coming of the Kingdom would be the reward from God for the good behavior of the people, and the Messiah would have come in a very solemn way as a king, to be received by his people. Jesus says the contrary. The coming of the Kingdom cannot be observed as the coming of an earthly king is observed. For Jesus, the Kingdom of God has already come! It is already among us, independently of our effort or merit. Jesus sees things in a different way. He has another way of reading life. He prefers the Samaritan who lives with gratitude to the nine who think that they merit the good that they receive from God (Lk 17, 17-19).
• Luke 17, 22-24: The signs to recognize the coming of the Son of Man. “A time will come when you will long to see one of the days of the Son of Man, and will not see it. They will say to you, ‘Look it is there!’ or ‘Look, it is here!’ Make no move, and do not set off in pursuit. For as the lightening flashing from one part of heaven lights up the other, so will be the Son of Man when His Day comes”. In this affirmation, from there are elements taken from apocalyptic visions of history quite common in the first centuries after Jesus. An apocalyptic vision of history has certain distinguishing characteristics.. Certainly, in time of great persecution and oppression the poor have the impression that God loses control of history. They feel lost, without a horizon and without any hope of liberation. In those moments of apparent absence of God, prophecy assumes the form of apocalypse. The apocalyptic vision seeks to enlighten the desperate situation with the light of faith in order to help people not lose hope and continue to have courage . To show that God does not lose control of history, they describe the different stages of the realization of the project of God throughout history. Begun in a particular significant moment in the past, this project of God advances, stage after stage, through the situations lived by the poor, until the final victory is obtained at the end of history. In this way, the apocalyptic places the present moment like a stage which has already been foreseen in the overall project of God. Generally, the last stage, before the coming of the end, is represented as a moment of suffering and crisis, which many try to profit from by deceiving people. “They will tell you: Look it is here, or look it is there, but do not move, do not follow them. Because like lightening flashing from one part of heaven lights up the other, so will be the Son of man when His Day comes”. Having the eyes of faith which Jesus communicates, the poor can perceive that the Kingdom is already among them (Lk 17, 21), like lightening, without any doubt. The coming of the Kingdom brings with it its own evidence and does not depend on the forecast or prediction of others.
• Luke 17, 25: By the Cross up to the Glory. “But first He is destined to suffer many things and be rejected by this generation”. Always the same warning: the Cross, scandal for the Jews and foolishness for the Greek, but for us the expression of the wisdom and the power of God (1Co 1, 18.23). The path toward the glory passes through the Cross. The life of Jesus is our Canon. It is the canonical norm for all of us.
4) Personal questions
• Jesus said “The Kingdom is in your midst!” Have you already found some sign of the Kingdom in your life, in the life of your nation or in the life of your community?
• The cross in our life: How do you consider or see suffering? What do you do about it?
5) Concluding prayer
He keeps faith for ever,
gives justice to the oppressed,
gives food to the hungry;
Yahweh sets prisoners free. (Ps 146:6-7)