Thursday of the Thirty-Second Week in Ordinary Time
Malvern Minute


Thursday of the Thirty-Second Week in Ordinary Time

November 12, 2020

Deacon Anthony J. Cincotta

Saint Mary Magdalen Parish, Media, PA


Memorial Feast:  Saint Josaphat (1580-+1623) Patron Saint of the Ukraine

Letter of Saint Paul to Philemon 7:20

Psalm 146:7-10

Luke 17:20-25


            Let’s begin with a prayer, “The Lord’s Prayer.”  Close your eyes for a few moments and recite the prayer that Jesus Himself has taught us.  Think about the words as you pray; feel them as if Jesus is praying along with you.  Well done!

            If we pay attention to The Lord’s Prayer we would note that we ask God to inaugurate His kingdom on earth, not just in heaven.  If we wanted to know what this might mean to us we need only to recall the parable of the prodigal son.  Here is a father, reaching out in love to his lost son who had broken all of the rules of behavior by which a well-ordered society structured itself. Still, we can easily rationalize all that has occurred between the father and his lost son we might be downgrading the kingdom to the hereafter.

            Then we read and re-read Saint Paul’s Letter to Philemon.  We find that this is not a set of noble principles or high-sounding (but impractical) ideals.  We actually find a polite request from one man to another to do some “kingdom coming now” and in the process literally turn his tidy little world on its head.

            The Roman Empire was built on slavery which was a far more brutal kind than any we have experienced over the last several centuries.  For example; if a runaway slave was captured he/she would be executed with exceptional cruelty in front of other slaves to serve as a warning to all who may attempt to escape.  Not doing so would lead to other escapes, slave uprisings, and the stoppage of a large labor force leading to economic consequences.  Yet that is exactly what Paul asks Philemon to do for his runaway slave, Onesimus.  As soon as Onesimus is returned to Philemon he will be executed in an unspeakable manner.

            Unfortunately, we do not know what happens next.  It is possible that Philemon said “no” to Paul’s request.  The same sort of world-upsetting actions are asked of us.  I believe that what is more important is how we understand the major question of Paul’s letter.  Do we enslave other people?  Possibly not in any obvious ways, but do we treat people as objects which creates a mindset of how we view people as slaves as a whole.  Do our interactions diminish them, relegating them to the status of mere physical functions, or is what we say and the way we treat others respectful, truly present in a Christ-like way?  

            I hope and pray we do not.  Our world needs a lot of “kingdom-coming.”

Question of the Day:  How will you view everyone you meet in the same way Christ sees them?

Prayer:  Lord Jesus, we pray that our hearts will be refreshed in Your name and filled with trust, love, and mercy.  Amen


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