HOMILY FOR NOVEMBER 10, MEMORIAL OF SAINT LEO THE GREAT, POPE, DOCTOR.
THEME: The kingdom of God is among you.
BY: Fr. Diotacious Chikontwe SMA.
*READINGS OF THE DAY*
*FROM OUR FIRST READING*
In our first reading today, St. Paul is writing a letter to another disciple of the Lord named Philemon. In that letter, we heard St. Paul telling Philemon that he was sending him one of his godsons, Onesimus, to accompany him and the other faithful, in the ministry and mission entrusted to them all in the Church of God. At that time, St. Paul himself was likely suffering in prison after he was arrested due to the many challenges and trials that he had to undergo throughout his ministry and missionary journeys. Yet, St. Paul faced it all with faith and devotion in God, entrusting himself completely in the hands of the Lord, and not fearing the sufferings, consequences and hardships that he had to endure, because he truly cared for the needs of his fellow brethren, to whom God had sent him to as a minister of His Good News and truth.
*FROM OUR GOSPEL READING*
In the time of Jesus, people thought of the kingdom of God as a future reality, as something that would come to earth at the end of time. The Pharisees in today’s gospel reading ask Jesus when exactly this will happen. They had heard him say, ‘the kingdom of God is at hand’. They wanted Jesus to be clearer about the timing of its arrival to earth. In reply, Jesus makes the striking statement, ‘you must know, the kingdom of God is among you’. Jesus was saying to them that the kingdom of God had already arrived in and through his ministry. It hadn’t arrived fully. As Jesus goes on to say to his disciples in the gospel reading, the day of the Son of Man has yet to come. It is only then that the kingdom of God will come fully. However, the kingdom of God is already present in all that Jesus was saying and doing. It would further break into our world through his death, resurrection and the sending of the Holy Spirit.
The risen Lord would say to us today what he said to the Pharisees, ‘the kingdom of God is among you’. It is among us when God’s will is being done as it is in heaven, when believers’ lives are shaped by the Holy Spirit, when people relate to God and to one another in the same loving way as Jesus did, when people live the values of the beatitudes and put the Sermon on the Mount into practice, even at great cost to themselves. In the first reading, Paul called on Philemon to create an opening for the coming of the kingdom of God by welcoming back his runaway slave no longer as a slave but as a brother in Christ. The kingdom of God is among us. Each one of us in our day to day lives can make visible the presence of the kingdom of God by living the gospel message in the power of the Spirit.
May God Bless Us All through Christ our Lord.
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