Thursday, November 12, 2015 ~ Thirty-Second Week in Ordinary Time
Saint Josaphat, Bishop and Martyr
Holy Gospel: Luke 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.”
Meditation: The Jews in Jesus’ time were watching in great anticipation for some sign which would indicate when the Messiah would appear to establish the kingdom of God. Much like Hollywood has made a great spectacle of Jesus with trumpets blaring, the people of Jesus’ time were expecting a warrior-king Messiah, a human “king-like” Messiah who would establish a “kingdom” based on human thoughts and perceptions, versus the real Jesus who was born in a manger in a borrowed stable and who spoke the message of love of God and love of neighbor. The Pharisees’ question on this matter was intended to test Jesus since they did not accept him as the Messiah. Jesus surprised them with the answer that the kingdom or reign of God was already here! Jesus spoke of the coming of God’s kingdom as both a present event and an event which would be manifested at the end of time.
Prayer: Stir up in your Church, we pray, O Lord, the Spirit that filled Saint Josaphat as he laid down his life for the sheep, so that through his intercession we, too, may be strengthened by the same Spirit and not be afraid to lay down our life for others. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Contemplation: When the Pharisees asked Jesus what sign would indicate the “Kingdom of God” Jesus replied that only one sign would point to that day and that sign was Jesus himself. Jesus surprised the Jews of his time by announcing that God’s kingdom was already present among them in his very person – the Son of God sent from the Father to redeem the world from sin and corruption. In the Lord Jesus we see both the power and the glory of God’s kingdom. His divine power overthrew the powers of darkness (the kingdom of Satan and all who opposed God’s rule) and sin (which corrupts and enslaves the human mind, heart, and will to the forces of evil and wrongdoing). Jesus knew that the only way to victory was through the cross. On that cross he defeated death and canceled the debt of our sins. The victory of his cross opens the way for us to live as sons and daughters of God and citizens of his heavenly kingdom of peace, joy, and righteousness. Is your hope and future securely anchored to God’s heavenly kingdom, versus the passing “kingdoms” created by humans?