In the gospel today,we read "The kingdom of heaven is at hand." These words of Jesus, the Son of God, are not speaking about something, sometime in the unknowable future. He is speaking about the present here and now.
Very much like Joseph on a cold, winter's night as he looked around what we might rate a minus 5 star accommodation, we are probably asking "What's going on, God.?" The kingdom of heaven, here and now....? How am I to understand what this means?
Perhaps we might consider Joseph's response to his questioning heart. He must have wondered why he and pregnant Mary were turned away in near by towns; why he had not come upon better accommodations for Mary to give birth to their child? Just a very long list of whys and whats happenings.
What did Joseph do? He opted for a simple solution most today would do all that was possible to avoid: he chose to accept what God had given him and Mary. Obedience to the will of God.
So back to us: what is this kingdom of God that is at hand? We see poverty. We might encounter very unpleasant work situations. We may be among those who had employment until recently. My spouse has been unfaithful. I don't have the funds to keep my family going. My nephew recently died because of cancer. My local newspaper reports numerous violations of men and women against their supposed "brothers and sisters" in Christ. And this is the kingdom of God among us here and now. Many might readily agree that it is a kingdom. However, we might say that it is the kingdom of evil that is dominating our culture, our population.
The kingdom of God is to be an experience of peace and happiness. For this to be a reality you and I, we as brothers and sisters in Christ have an obligation to live our lives in a way that gives witness to an effort to live the life of the gospels, to follow the Ten Commandments. Ours is a challenge to make life better for those who are "hurting." Ours is a challenge be like Joseph: accept the challenge and make life better for those around us to the extent that it is possible. Ours is the challenge to teach others, especially our younger sisters and brothers the importance of knowing God.
This is how we bring the Kingdom of God into our here and now.