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A team of 200 priests comment on daily Gospel

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Liturgical day: Thursday 32nd 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.

Responsorial Psalm: 145
R/. Blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob.
The Lord secures justice for the oppressed, gives food to the hungry. The Lord sets captives free.

The Lord gives sight to the blind. The Lord raises up those who were bowed down; the Lord loves the just. The Lord protects strangers.

The fatherless and the widow he sustains, but the way of the wicked he thwarts. The Lord shall reign forever; your God, o Zion, through all generations.
Versicle before the Gospel (Jn 15:5): Alleluia. I am the vine, you are the branches, says the Lord: whoever remains in me and I in him will bear much fruit. Alleluia.

Gospel text (Lk 17,20-25): The Pharisees asked Jesus when the kingdom of God was to come. He answered, «The kingdom of God is not like something you can observe and say of it: ‘Look, here it is! There it is!’. See, the kingdom of God is among you».

And Jesus said to his disciples, «The time is at hand when you will long to see one of the glorious days of the Son of Man, but you will not see it. Then people will tell you: ‘Look there! Look here!’. Do not go, do not follow them. As lightning flashes from one end of the sky to the other, so will it be with the Son of Man. But first He must suffer many things and be rejected by this people».

«The kingdom of God is among you»

Fr. Josep Mª MASSANA i Mola OFM
(Barcelona, Spain)

Today, the Pharisees ask Jesus, with a mixture of interest, curiosity, fear... something that has always been of interest for all of us: when will the Kingdom of God come over? when will it be the last day, the end of the world, Christ's return to judge the living and the dead in the day of the Last Judgment?

Jesus tells them that this is unpredictable. We only know that it will suddenly come, without notice: it will be «As lightning» (Lk 17:24), a sudden occurrence, full of light and glory, at the same time. As for other circumstances, Jesus' second advent remains a complete mystery. But Jesus gives us a true and certain clue: as of now, «the kingdom of God is among you» (Lk 17:21). Or: «inside you».

The great event of the last day will be a universal accomplishment, but it also happens in the little microcosm of each one's heart. It is there where we must actually seek the Kingdom. Heaven can be found deep inside us, where we must also find Jesus.

This Kingdom that unpredictably will start “outside” may commence right now “inside” us. The last day starts its configuration right now, inside us. If we want to be allowed into the Kingdom in that last day, we must let the Kingdom get inside us, right now. If we want Jesus to be our merciful judge in that particular moment, we better make him right now our best friend and our inside guest.

St. Bernard, in a sermon for Advent, speaks of the three advents of Christ. The first advent, which we now commemorate as Christmas; the third advent, is the Parousia, the advent in which Christ will come to judge the living and the dead, and to take us to himself. Then St. Bernard explains the second, or middle, advent as the “time of visitation” by which Christ is now present and active in each of our lives. It is there, where the first and the third advents appear on a personal and experienced level. Jesus' verdict on Judgment's day must already be resounding now in our heart. That, which has yet to arrive, is already now a reality.