Today’s first reading is taken from St. Paul’s letter to Philemon. Here Paul urges his old friend to welcome back his slave, Onesimus. Onesimus had been travelling with and assisting Paul, and Paul had become very fond of him. In fact, he refers to Onesimus as “my child, whose father I have become in my imprisonment.” It is a very heartfelt letter.
In the Gospel reading from Luke 17, Jesus is asked by the Pharisees when the Kingdom of God would come. Jesus replies, “Behold, the Kingdom of God is among you.” I’m sure that the Pharisees were probably somewhat puzzled by this answer. And, no doubt, many today are still puzzled by this. But the same words that Jesus spoke to the Pharisees still hold true today. The Kingdom of God IS among you. We know it as the Church.
The Church is the Kingdom of God on earth. Why? Because Jesus is still present today in the Church. Now, Jesus is made present in many ways. But in the Catholic Church, we know that Jesus Christ is truly present Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity in the Eucharist. And each time we attend Mass, we are truly participating in the wedding feast of the Lamb. Now that is heaven on earth!
Father, help us to always see that the Kingdom of God is, indeed, among us in the Church. Give us an ever greater understanding of this great truth, that we may carry the message to the world. Amen.