Scripture: Lectionary # 241. Jeremiah 37:23-28. Psalm 95: 1-2.6-7. 8-9.
Jesus tells us that the kingdom is here; it is within us! And Jesus is the
center of the kingdom of God. He is the true proclaimer of what the kingdom
is and where it is. We who believe in Jesus accept this good news and live
within the kingdom even now. We do not have to wait for the glorification
of the kingdom of heaven in the hereafter. At this moment Jesus is within
The narrative for today shows us the ugly side of those who do not believe
this is possible. They even are saying that Jesus casts out the demon from
the man who cannot speak for himself as possessing the very demon or
demons he is driving out. What nonsense! Jesus confronts them with reason
and inward conviction (exousia/authority, power). A kingdom that is
divided against itself cannot stand.
We however experience the kingdom of God within ourselves. Paul has made
it know to us that we are temples of the Holy Spirit. Jesus tells us that
in our hearts and minds the kingdom is present when we are in union with
him and listening to his words of truth not lies like those who say he is
possessed. Even if we sin, we can repent and find the kingdom of God
within us. Lent offers us so many opportunities for realizing what Jesus
is saying. Jesus tells us that it is by the finger of God (an image of
the Holy Spirit) that he is able to cast out demons, remove sins, and
overpower the darkness of evil.
The passages of Jeremiah and the Psalm invite us to listen to the voice of
the Lord and to praise God for the good things we experience around us as
well as the divine things we experience within us. We listen attentively
to the Lord in a wholehearted way with joy and enthusiasm. We are able to
do this because we know the kingdom of God has come and is among us and
within us. Jesus is present in word and sacrament and it is he who speaks
to us about this experience. We are open to him with listening hearts. No
wonder some spiritual writers speak of the ears of the heart that are
atuned to the voice of God. Jesus often says,
“Let him who has ears, hear!” Amen.