" Peace is the first thing the angels sang. Peace is the mark of the children of God. peace is the nurse of love.

Peace is the mother of unity. Peace is the rest of the blessed souls. Peace is the dwelling place of eternity. "

 ~~~ ST. LEO THE GREAT ~~~

*** 1st Reading ***

Philemon 7-20

I had great satisfaction and comfort on hearing of your charity, because the hearts of the saints have been cheered by you, brother.

Because of this, although in Christ I have the freedom to command what you should do, yet I pre­fer to request you in love. The one talk­ing is Paul, the old man, now prisoner for Christ. And my request is on behalf of Onesimus, whose father I have become while I was in prison.

 This Onesimus has not been helpful to you, but now he will be helpful both to you and to me. In re­turning him to you, I am sending you my own heart. I would have liked to keep him at my side, to serve me on your behalf while I am in prison for the Gospel, but I did not want to do anything without your agreement, nor impose a good deed upon you without your free consent.

 Perhaps Onesimus has been parted from you for a while so that you may have him back forever, no longer as a slave, but better than a slave. For he is a very dear brother to me, and he will be even dearer to you.

And so, because of our friendship, receive him as if he were I myself. And if he  has caused any harm, or owes you  anything, charge it to me. Paul, write this and sign it with my own hand: I will pay it… without further mention of your debt to me, which is you yourself. So, my brother, please do me this favor for the Lord’s sake. Give me this comfort in Christ.

 

Ps 146:7, 8-9a, 9bc-10

Blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob.

 

**** Gospel **** 

Luke 17:20-25

The Pharisees asked Jesus when the kingdom of God was to come. He answered, "The kingdom of God is not like something you can observe, and say of it, 'Look, here it is!' or 'See, there it is!' for the kingdom of God is within you."

 And Jesus said to his disciples, "The time is at hand, when you will long to see one of the glorious days of the Son of Man, but you will not see it. Then people will tell you, 'Look there! Look here!'

Do not go with them, do not follow them. As lightning flashes from one end of the sky to the other, so will it be with the Son of Man; but first he must suffer many things, and be rejected by this generation.

 

 Gospel Reflection:

Breathe & Push

On December 31, 2016, at an inter-religious gathering in the United States, Valerie Kaur, a social activist, made a powerful speech. Reflecting on the troubled times the US was going through then, she said: "The mother in me asks: 'What if?

What if this darkness is not the darkness of the tomb, but the darkness of the womb? What if we are not a dead country but a country that is waiting to be born? What if our story is one of long labor?'

And what does the midwife tell you to do when you are in labor? 'Breathe and Push'." The darkness over the world has only worsened since then. So what should we do?

We must continue to breathe and push, so that the baby that is within us – the Kingdom – will be born. If we don't breathe, we die; if we do not push, the Kingdom dies within us.