Reading 1 Phln 7-20
Responsorial Psalm Ps 146:7, 8-9a, 9bc-10
Gospel Lk 17:20-25
God’s kingdom exists where there is compassion, kindness, fairness, justice, forgiveness, mercy, gentleness, humility, hope, and generosity. Are these not our hearts’ desire for ourselves and for those around us? Have we not observed ourselves in the past as capable of these qualities? Let us not wait to be the recipients of someone’s act of kindness. Let us initiate and be proactive.
Let us be on the lookout for times when we can stand up for someone in an unjust situation; when we can feed someone’s physical hunger but spiritual hunger as well; when we can free those imprisoned by their fears, when we can help someone look at his situation through God’s eyes, when we can encourage those who feel discouraged.
Finally, the first reading gives us an actual example of what building the kingdom is like. Paul writes to Philemon, a friend and member of the church at Colossae. It seems that Philemon owned a slave named Onesimus who ran away from him. Onesimus somehow meets up with Paul in Rome and becomes a Christian. Since runaway slaves are considered criminals, Paul asks Philemon if he could forgive Onesimus and accept him back as he would accept Paul himself, not as a slave but as a brother. In fact, Onesimus himself carries Paul’s letter to Philemon. We don’t really know how the story ends but the important point is that Paul is an active participant in building God’s kingdom by being proactive.
What a pity if the opportunities to build God’s kingdom pass us by. What a waste of an existence if we are unable to contribute to re- creation. How can we account for ourselves at the end of time if we are always fearful of engaging life and kept within our comfort zones?
Like Onesimus, is there a call for us today to set something right? Like Philemon, is there a call for us to forgive someone who committed a “crime” against us? Like Paul, can we intercede for someone who needs forgiveness? How can I help build God’s kingdom today?