WEDNESDAY HOMILY: Jesus Exorcises Demons, Heals Wounds, Instructs How to Pray, and Sends Us
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Be encouraged, enthused, enlivened, and animated by God's choice in sending YOU. He has chosen YOU. He loves YOU. Allow yourself to feel this choice and this love every day. Give God permission to love and convert you that you may help bring this about in others.
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P>HYTHE, KENT, UK (Catholic Online) - "You are no good. You will never amount to anything. God doesn't love you. You are unlovable."
Recognize this voice? It is the voice of the devil, the liar, he whom Jesus called the "murderer from the beginning."
He visits the disciples of Christ every day. He desires to destroy them. He wants to do anything possible to remove their fruitfulness, to remove Christ from their lives and in doing so remove Christ's presence from this world.
In today's Gospel, we are discipled in the truth that Jesus not only exorcised demons and healed people, but that this is His daily work in and through the Church. These two works of Christ, exorcism and healing, are always shown right next to each other in the Gospels, like a left jab and a right hook in spiritual combat and fighting for the Kingdom of Jesus Christ. Other examples are the unclean spirit in the synagogue in Capernaum (Mk 1:23-28, Lk 4:33-37), casting out of the mute demon (Mt 9:32-33, Lk 11:14), Gerasene demoniac possessed by legion (Mt 8:28-34, Mk 5:1-20, Lk 8:26-39), and many more.
There seems to be a lot of curiosity about demons from popular culture, but it is important to remember that, "the power of Satan is, nonetheless, not infinite. He is only a creature, powerful from the fact that he is pure spirit, but still a creature. He cannot prevent the building up of God's reign." (Catechism of the Catholic Church 395). I like to think of them as bugs - easily squashed by Jesus, however bacteria often attach themselves to us by an open wound or sore. This explains why healing is always a part of exorcism in Christ's work, and also why it is the more important and long term work. It is easy to swipe a wound with antiseptic, but the more patient work is healing the actual wound.
This is exactly what Jesus does. He heals. This is good news. This must be shared.
Sharing the Gospel is the second part of the Word for today. Jesus gives us an example of how to share the Gospel. First he prays. He leaves the multitudes, turns momentarily away from everyone, even those who may need and clamor after him, to address His Father. Then he says, To the other towns also I must proclaim the good news of the Kingdom of God, because for this purpose I have been sent."
This is the other pattern of missionary life of the Church. We pray and we share. We listen to God in quiet and proclaim from the rooftops what we have heard.
Here are a few practical ways we can do this:
Baptism - It is where we are freed from the demon and healed from sin. Ignite the flame of your baptism by frequent and intense prayer and meditation on the Word of God, especially the Mass readings. You are probably reading this article because you are already interested in doing this. Well done. Keep it up. However because we need Christ's help returning to baptismal innocence we need to go to frequent
Confession - At least once a month and if your really mean business, like you actually want to become like Christ, once a week. Find a stable confessor you can be accountable to on a consistent basis, who can help you in the long term.
Eucharist - Why would you not have contact with Jesus Christ every day in daily Mass? Ok maybe your state in life makes it hard for you to go every day, but there are usually many masses around in different churches at different times. You are where you want to be. Make time. Do. It.
Rosary - Pray the Rosary. Daily. Blessed Pope John Paul II called it his favorite "missionary prayer." This is because in 15 minutes you allow Our Lady to preach the Gospel to you and to pray for the sending of the Holy Spirit upon you to share this good news with the poor.
Pope Francis - Stay plugged in to the Holy Father's words and works. He is so clear and simple. Perfect for our age. The vatican youtube channel has his daily homilies in a few minutes. He tweets ultra clear messages of 140 characters that can shape your whole mission for a day.
Courage - be encouraged, enthused, enlivened, and animated by God's choice in sending YOU. He has chosen YOU. He loves YOU. Allow yourself to feel this choice and this love every day. Give God permission to love and convert you that you may help bring this about in others.
May Our Lady, the star of the New Evangelization guide and protect you from all evil and pray for your healing, may she teach you how to pray and accept the infinitely mighty tender Love of God that you may be sent to share this with others.
Father Samuel Medley, SOLT, is a priest of the Society of Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity, and is based in Hythe, Kent, United Kingdom. He speaks to groups around the world on Blessed Pope John Paul II's Theology of the Body. Visit his homily blog http://medleyminute.blogspot.com or his blog on the Church's teachings on marriage and family life http://loveandresponsibility.org
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