Read Philemon 7-20, Ps. 146:7-10, Luke 17:20-25
“The kingdom of God is not coming with signs to be observed; nor will they say, ‘Lo, here it is!’ or ‘There!’ for behold, the kingdom of God is in the midst of you.” (Luke 17:20-21)
As little children, there was this song we often sang that made a great impression on me: “The time to be happy is now! The place to be happy is here! The way to be happy is to make Someone Happy! And we’ll have a little heaven down here!” If we are committed to spreading love and happiness to everyone around us, we would literally create God’s kingdom on earth.
We can achieve heaven on earth when we go out of our way to bring smiles to the faces of everyone around us. We can make God’s kingdom happen in our midst when we show care and concern for the welfare of everyone we meet. Someone once said that the only difference between heaven and hell is the absence of love. When we hate one another, or when we are self-centered or desire the death and destruction of one another, we are literally living in hell.
In today’s first reading, we hear St. Paul appealing to Philemon to forgive Onesimus and accept him once again no longer as a slave but as a brother. “Formerly he was useless to you, but now he is indeed useful both to you and to me… welcome him as you would welcome me. If he has wronged you in any way, or owes you anything, charge that to my account.” (Philemon 1:11-18).
This is heaven – loving our neighbors as ourselves. This is heaven – forgiving one another without counting the cost. This is heaven – seeing the face of Jesus in the people who have offended you like Onesimus. This is heaven – welcoming the earth’s rejected, the sick, the imprisoned, the orphans, giving to these little ones as much as a cup of water without expecting anything in return. The joy we feel when we help others sincerely is a foretaste of the joy of heaven.
Jesus warns us against following false prophets; that is, going after persons who claim this or that. The world will surely end but that is not our business, it will happen like a flash of lightning. For now, our only concern should be the expansion of God’s kingdom on earth; showing kindness, spreading happiness, and truly forgiving one another.
Let us pray: Heavenly Father, use me as your instrument that I may promote your kingdom on earth. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.
Be Happy. Live Positive. Have Faith. It is well with you. God bless you. (Saint Leo the Great, Pope, Doctor. Bible Study: Philemon 7-20, Ps. 146:7-10, Luke 17:20-25)
© Rev. Fr. Evaristus Abu