Daily Bible: The Lord Secures Justice

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In Philemon 7–20 we see Saint Paul navigating the challenges that the Gospel poses to human culture. The slave Onesimus escapes from Philemon, who is a Christian, and runs to Saint Paul, apparently seeking sanctuary. Saint Paul’s response is to send Onesimus back to Philemon with this letter. In the letter Saint Paul urges Philemon to forgive any debt or punishment Onesimus incurred by running away, and to welcome him back as a brother in Christ. He does not go as far as asking Philemon to free Onesimus. What we see in Saint Paul is a good shepherd and father, who is nudging his spiritual son to examine his conscience and decide how Jesus is calling him to love.

In yesterday’s reading from Titus, we saw Saint Paul follow the Scriptural theme that God asks His children to do for others what He had done for them. Psalm 146:7–10 praises God for doing exactly those things the Lord calls us to do. Of course, all of these things are perfected in Jesus and disciples of Jesus are called to share them with others. From verses like these and from Jesus’ 0wn example we get the Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy.

Jesus’ words in Luke 17:20–25 begin a series of readings about the Second Coming. The Pharisees ask Jesus about the coming of the Kingdom of God. Like many Hebrew people, they were probably expecting the restoration of an earthly kingdom. But Jesus’ cryptic response tells them that God is doing more than they expect. And the true Kingdom will begin with Jesus’ suffering and death.

Reflection Questions

1. How can you exercise the Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy to love others as Jesus has loved us?

2. How could the Gospel transform the way we interact with the culture today?

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Originally published at Catholic Spiritual Growth.