November 13, 2014

The Gospel Today

Thursday of the Thirty-second Week in Ordinary Time

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.”

 
Reflection (Sem. Emmanuel G. Calumpong):
 
          I remember that since I started joining oratorical, declamation, story telling or extemporaneous speech contests in my elementary years onward to high school and even in college, my teacher coaches or mentors would always tell me before the contests start, to perform or deliver my piece as if it were my first, last or only contest. And not quite a few instances that I would also hear people telling others to do their best in every endeavor or opportunity that they have as if it would be their last or only chance.

         Later in life I realized that it really makes sense that in everything we do, we should always do our best because there could never be another chance or opportunity to do it again. How many stories have we heard people regretting because they missed a lot of chances, opportunities, successes or even rewards because they failed to do their best when given the opportunity?  How many relationships were destroyed because of opportunities taken for granted? How many issues among families remain unresolved because nobody cared to do something about them?

           Thus, we always hear the phrases “if only I gave my best, I could have done it better” or “if only I knew this would happen” or “if only I could turn back time…” and so on and so forth. Words of regret that nothing could be done anymore just because of simply not being able to do what ought to be done. For we do not know when will be our last or only chance of doing them  because we also do not know when is the end of the world.

           On the other hand, there are occasions when we become anxious because of predictions about the end of time, that the world will be destroyed at a particular date, based on the “signs of the times”: social and political turmoils, earthquakes, famines, persecutions, and immense human sufferings. We then become worried about the future. We become restless and sometimes faithless and disillusioned. Eventually, we fail to live in the present time.

           I believe this is what today’s Gospel is telling us. That the Kingdom of God is alive in the present every time we live our lives as loving witnesses of Jesus. The Kingdom of God lies in righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit as what St. Paul says in his letter to the Romans 14:17. And its presence is made tangible by proclaiming the Good News as if today were the first, the last and the only day in our lives.

           So why then worry about the end of the world?

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