32nd Week in Ordinary Time
1st Reading: Phlm 7-20
Beloved: I have experienced much joy and encouragement from your love, because the hearts of the holy ones have been refreshed by you, brother. Therefore, although I have the full right in Christ to order you to do what is proper, I rather urge you out of love, being as I am, Paul, an old man, and now also a prisoner for Christ Jesus. I urge you on behalf of my child Onesimus, whose father I have become in my imprisonment, who was once useless to you but is now useful to both you and me. I am sending him, that is, my own heart, back to you. I should have liked to retain him for myself, so that he might serve me on your behalf in my imprisonment for the Gospel, but I did not want to do anything without your consent, so that the good you do might not be forced but voluntary. Perhaps this is why he was away from you for a while, that you might have him back forever, no longer as a slave but more than a slave, a brother, beloved especially to me, but even more so to you, as a man and in the Lord. So if you regard me as a partner, welcome him as you would me. And if he has done you any injustice or owes you anything, charge it to me. I, Paul, write this in my own hand: I will pay. May I not tell you that you owe me your very self. Yes, brother, may I profit from you in the Lord. Refresh my heart in Christ.
Gospel: Lk 17:20-25
Asked by the Pharisees when the Kingdom of God would come, Jesus said in reply, “The coming of the Kingdom of God cannot be observed, and no one will announce, ‘Look, here it is,’ or, ‘There it is.’ For behold, the Kingdom of God is among you.” Then he said to his disciples, “The days will come when you will long to see one of the days of the Son of Man, but you will not see it. There will be those who will say to you, ‘Look, there he is,’ or ‘Look, here he is.’ Do not go off, do not run in pursuit. For just as lightning flashes and lights up the sky from one side to the other, so will the Son of Man be in his day. But first he must suffer greatly and be rejected by this generation.”
SPIRITUAL EYES AND EARS: Rabindranath Tagore (1861-1941) is a Poet, Philosopher, Writer and Musician from India in his collection of poems titled Gitanjali instructs a monk on where God can be encountered: “Leave this chanting and singing and telling of beads! Whom dost thou worship in this lonely dark corner of a temple with doors all shut? Open thine eyes and see thy God is not before thee!…” The Pharisees looked for God in the extraordinary external events. To them Jesus said that the Kingdom of God was among them. He implies that God is present in the hearts of people, especially in the needy persons. By relieving their hunger and thirst, we can provide God a good abode. Shall we join in this service of God and the kingdom? We shall pray for the gift of eyes which see and heart that feels the presence of God among us.
Prayer: Oh God, let us stay prepared and in the knowledge of your Kingdom.
NATURE OF THE KINGDOM OF GOD: The Pharisees like many Jews were awaiting a political kingdom that would overthrow the Romans and re-establish the Davidic kingdom. Contrary to their expectation, Jesus tells them that the Kingdom of God is among them. Jesus is the autobasileia (Origen); in him, we see the manifestation of the Kingdom of God. We learn that the task before us is not just to watch, but rather to further God’s reign in our lives. The question regarding eschaton remains a concern for many. The desperation has led some to follow false prophets; thus, the many mushrooming ecclesial communities today. Jesus’ coming will be sudden, thus a warning to guard against being engrossed in the pleasures of this world. ‘The Kingdom of God is available to us now, but the question is whether we are available to the Kingdom’ (Nhat Hanh).
PRAYER: Help us Lord to radiate the power and glory of your Kingdom in the way we live.
SEARCHING FOR GOD AND GOD SEARCHING FOR YOU: God has pitched his tent within you! Jesus points His finger to that Kingdom. The kingdom works in human hearts. He sets the person on a renewal mode, a stream of light, a gush of fresh wind runs through the person. God wants to take hold of you, overshadow you. God wants to reclaim you. It is not just you on your part alone are seeking Him. God is looking for you. Our search for God is marked by conditions, temperaments, limitations and expectations. We need different approach to encounter God. To find God, you will have to lose all; you will have to lose yourself. “Those who love me will keep my word and my father will love them and we will come to them and make our home with them.” (Jn14: 23). Let’s incline our ears to that God who is ever on a search for you.