Wed, 14 November 2018
(Philm.7-20; Ps.146:7-10; Lk.17:20-25)
“The reign of God is already in your midst.”
Brothers and sisters, Jesus the Christ has come, He has “suffer[ed] much and be[en] rejected by the present age”… and He has risen. This is all you need to know. There is no need for “careful watching when the reign of God will come,” for it is not “a matter of reporting that it is ‘here’ or ‘there’” – it is among us today. And when it shall be fulfilled, you will never know.
“Through you the hearts of God’s people have been refreshed,” Paul writes to Philemon: does the kingdom of heaven not come through this man? “Refresh this heart of mine,” the Apostle adds – does he not call for an increased manifestation of the kingdom? A slave has stolen from his master and run away. Paul has discovered him and now calls him, “My child whom I have begotten during my imprisonment.” The slave has run to the prisoner and found freedom; does not the kingdom of God come to this place? And certainly Philemon will accept his slave back as a brother in the Lord, his arms open like the father of the prodigal son… how the Lord does work among us.
And our psalm presents a litany of the Lord’s work: yes, “the Lord sets captives free,” as we see in our first reading; but whenever the eyes of the blind are opened or the widow and the stranger are cared for, whenever justice is secured and the hungry are fed… the Lord is at work, His kingdom comes. This world is in His hands, after all, and whenever love is “freely bestowed” by any of us toiling upon this earth, the Lord shows Himself indeed in the beat of our heart and our arms open wide. It is not difficult to see.
You must remember, my brothers and sisters, that all prophecy has been fulfilled; all revelation is complete in the coming of the Son of God, in His death and in His resurrection. There is nothing left to await but the final day, a Day about which false prophets conjecture and faithless souls run anxiously about to find, only moving themselves further from its presence. “The Son of Man in His day will be like the lightning that flashes from one end of the sky to the other” – don’t worry, you will not miss it; nor can you mistake it. Your purpose in the meantime is to spend yourself bringing His kingdom to this earth in the love you share with your neighbor. In such love come only from Christ, the kingdom is already here.
O LORD, let us be useful to you
in these days before your Son’s return –
let us bring your presence to this world.
YHWH, make us useful to you and to your Church, that we might serve to bring your kingdom to this dark world of persecution, to this prison in which we dwell. Though we be apart from you as long as we are in the flesh, let us do your work while here, and captives will be set free.
You are with us, LORD, in those who give sight to the blind, in those who instruct the ignorant and lead them to your love. May we be brought to share in your surpassing love! Help us to feed the hungry and care for the fatherless and widows. May every stranger be welcomed into the arms of your Church.
Then we shall find a home in this world, a dwelling place in your arms, O LORD. Though there be suffering every day, you will be with us through it all; your Son will bear every blow in our stead, and we will come in this way to your eternal dwelling. Let us have no fear about His return, for He is with us in this prison.