Today’s Feast of Saint Josaphat celebrates a monk of the Eastern Church who was put to death during sectarian violence in the Ukraine, when believers who were united with the Catholic Church found themselves in violent confrontation in their own towns and neighborhoods with other Christians aligned with the Eastern Orthodox Churches. Josaphat didn’t wake up that day knowing that it would be his last, and most of us won’t have much warning either.
The gospel today reminds me of all those places in the various gospels where Jesus, in speaking about the end of the world, or the end of our lives, says, “You will know neither the day nor the hour,” implying that we need to always be ready to encounter God’s justice, judgment, and mercy. Knowing that God loves us, we should long for God’s loving-kindness and mercy.
When Jesus says, “The Kingdom of God is among you,” he means that he is an indispensable ingredient of God’s Kingdom. We have all heard fundamentalist Christians trying to count up various numbers and so-called “clues” in the Scriptures to figure out when the end times are coming. Jesus tells us instead to pursue our lives with hope and virtue, and to allow him to accompany us every step of the way!
—Fr. Michael A. Vincent, S.J. serves as associate pastor of the Church of the Gesu, University Heights, OH.