FRIDAY

It's always a good idea to read the Gospel passage before listening to or reading the reflection. 

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Today’s Gospel passage continues from yesterday. Jesus used a tree to teach his message. He said: 
‘Think of the fig tree and indeed every tree. As soon as you see them bud, you know that summer is now near. So with you, when you see these things happening: know that the kingdom of God is near.’ 

The people knew the seasons of the year. In today’s Gospel, Jesus suggested they should also know ‘the seasons of the kingdom of God’ – the signs that the kingdom of God is near. 

‘when you see these things happening: know that the kingdom of God is near.’ 
What ‘things’ show that the kingdom of God is near? 

In the context of this Gospel passage, the destruction of Jerusalem would have been seen as a sign – it seemed to be the dawn of a new creation. 

In yesterday’s Gospel, Jesus said: 

‘they will see the Son of Man coming’ 

The coming of Jesus into our world is the greatest sign that the kingdom of God is near. Jesus himself, in his life, death and resurrection, show us that God is close to us – that God loves us. 

The signs of the kingdom, however. didn’t stop when Jesus ascended to heaven. He told the disciples to go out to the whole world and proclaim the Good News to all creation. At that moment, the disciples – the Church – became a sign that the kingdom of God is near. 

People should know the kingdom of God is near through the lives of Jesus’ disciples – through our lives – through our love of God and people made visible in our prayer, our actions, words and attitudes each day. 

The Eucharist is the betting heart of the Church; it is the beating heart of each of our lives. And the Eucharist is the ongoing sign that the kingdom of God is near. 

In all the Sacraments, and above all in the Eucharist, Jesus gives us personal and intimate experiences of God’s love and forgiveness and we are strengthened to show that same love and forgiveness to others. The Word of God - especially the Gospel – is also a sign that the kingdom of God is near. As Jesus said in today’s Gospel: 

‘My words will never pass away.’ 

When we see the disciples of Jesus today helping the poor, the sick, hungry, visiting prisoners and standing up for the alienated and unloved … we know the kingdom of God is near. In the goodness of millions of ordinary Christians - mums and dads, grandparents, aunts and uncles - again, we know the kingdom of God is near. 

Jesus says to us today, as he said to those first disciples: 

‘When you see these things happening: know that the kingdom of God is near.’ 

Today we might ask: 

‘When I see all these things happening: do I know that the kingdom of God is near?’ 
Advent starts on Sunday. 
We will spend Advent thinking about the coming of Jesus in the past at Bethlehem, in the future when we meet him face to face, and in our lives each here and now. 
Let’s pray today that Jesus will open our eyes to see all the signs that the kingdom of God is near; that Jesus is near.