Thursday, November 12, 2015

Reflection: Luke 17:20-25

Thursday of the 32nd Week of Ordinary TimeLuke 17:20-25

Surprisingly, today the Pharisees ask Jesus when the Kingdom of God would come.  Were they sincerely asking this question?  Or were the Pharisees once again testing Jesus?  As he often did, Jesus did not give them a straightforward answer.  Rather he said to them: “The coming of the Kingdom of God cannot be observed.  No one will announce:  ‘Look!  The Kingdom of God is here.’  Nor will someone say: ‘Behold, the Kingdom of God is in your midst.

Jesus then turns to his disciples and says: “The day will come when you will long to see one of the days of the Son of Man.  However you will not see it.”  He then cautions his disciples: “There will be people who will say to you, Look, there is the Son of Man.  However, do not trust their prophecy.’”   He instructs his disciple not to pursue of the Son of Man.  Rather, Jesus tells them: “For just as lightening flashes and lights up the sky, so will the Son of Man be in his day.”  Jesus quietly adds: “But first he must suffer greatly and be rejected by this generation.” 

What difficult words for the disciples to hear!  Did they want to ignore Jesus’ words?  Yet, the disciples clearly knew that the Pharisees were watching Jesus.  They realized that the Pharisees were hoping that Jesus would give them cause to have him arrested.  Perhaps then, they would be able to rid themselves of Jesus and destroy his influence with the people. 

Sad to say: people don’t change much!  Here we are in the 21st century, but all over the world there are people who plan, plot and scheme against others.  Their purpose most likely is similar to the Pharisees’ agenda: power, control and influence.   Although human beings have evolved since the time of Jesus, some things never change.  And even though we have advanced in many ways since the time of Jesus, we still are frail and fearful human beings.

I wonder if Jesus looks down on our world with sadness and dismay?  Does he ask himself: Have my human beings advanced at all?  Haven’t they lessons from past history?  Why do they continue to scheme against each other?  Don’t they realize that they are simply duplicating past history?  Does Jesus ask: Why can’t they simply love each other?

We all know that our world is in trouble!  We see it and hear it multiple times every day.  The good news is there also are innumerable women and men in the world who strive to make this world a more loving and peaceful place.  Today I invite you to ask yourself:  What am I doing to help make this world a more loving and accepting place for every human being?  Today I invite you to take time and ponder this question.  However, remember: even though what you are doing may seem insignificant to you, what you do or say may be a great gift to another person! 

Today may each of us strive to change our world simply by accepting and loving each individual we encounter.  What a great gift to give to that individual but also to our planet!  

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