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He Is Among Us

Memorial of Saint Leo Great, Pope & Doctor of the Church

First Reading: Philemon 7-20

Beloved:
I have experienced much joy and encouragement from your love,
because the hearts of the holy ones
have been refreshed by you, brother.
Therefore, although I have the full right in Christ
to order you to do what is proper,
I rather urge you out of love,
being as I am, Paul, an old man,
and now also a prisoner for Christ Jesus.
I urge you on behalf of my child Onesimus,
whose father I have become in my imprisonment,
who was once useless to you but is now useful to both you and me.
I am sending him, that is, my own heart, back to you.
I should have liked to retain him for myself,
so that he might serve me on your behalf
in my imprisonment for the Gospel,
but I did not want to do anything without your consent,
so that the good you do might not be forced but voluntary.
Perhaps this is why he was away from you for a while,
that you might have him back forever,
no longer as a slave but more than a slave, a brother,
beloved especially to me, but even more so to you,
as a man and in the Lord.
So if you regard me as a partner, welcome him as you would me.
And if he has done you any injustice
or owes you anything, charge it to me.
I, Paul, write this in my own hand: I will pay.
May I not tell you that you owe me your very self.
Yes, brother, may I profit from you in the Lord.
Refresh my heart in Christ.

Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 146:7, 8-9A, 9BC-10

R. (5a) Blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob.
The LORD secures justice for the oppressed,
gives food to the hungry.
The LORD sets captives free.
R. Blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob.
The LORD gives sight to the blind.
The LORD raises up those who were bowed down;
the LORD loves the just.
The LORD protects strangers.
R. Blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob.
The fatherless and the widow he sustains,
but the way of the wicked he thwarts.
The LORD shall reign forever;
your God, O Zion, through all generations. Alleluia.
R. Blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob.

Gospel: 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.”

NAB

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I’ve been a youth minister for a few years now, and I’ve found that there is a universal expectation among teens when it comes to Saturday night. Not your typical weekend Saturday night, but retreat Saturday night. Teens tend to expect Jesus to reveal Himself in a big, flashy, emotionally appealing way. But this attitude isn’t exclusive to teens. I mean, it would be nice to have a lightening flash every now again, just to make things super abundantly clear, right?

But in today’s Gospel, Jesus warns against going after signs because “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.”

The kingdom of God is among you—as in around you, and in you, and through you. The kingdom of God is happening right now.

The problem with our Saturday-night-mentality is that when we’re waiting for a Bible-sized miracle, we can miss the intimate, intricate, creative ways that the Father is loving and providing for us today. We put God in a box when we specify how we want Him to work. We limit Him when we insist upon a certain solution. If we want to trust God, we simply have to look around to glimpse His goodness and providence already at work in our lives.

Just the other day, I was feeling particularly stressed and overcommitted. I found myself darting frantically around the parish office, when I noticed a note scrawled on my white board: I love you, Beth. Presumably one of my teens from our previous night’s youth group had left it there, but by God’s grace I understood them as coming from the Lord. I might’ve missed this precious message if I only expected God to speak to me in the pages of my journal or in the adoration chapel. But He is too in love with us to leave us alone.

Ask the Lord to reveal to you those tender little ways He is loving you today. Because He is loving you—every minute of every hour of every day.

Call upon the Holy Spirit to help you feel and see God’s love and presence more tangibly today.

photo credit

Beth Davis is a lover of Jesus, an aunt to five beautiful humans, and a full time youth minister in Flagstaff, Arizona. She is passionate about winning the hearts of young people for Jesus through discipleship. You can find out more about her here.

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