Tuesday of the Twenty-second Week in Ordinary Time (September 5, 2017): The authority of love.

Thứ Hai, 04-09-2017 | 15:02:12

Today’s Readings:
1 Thessalonians 5:1-6, 9-11
Ps 27:1, 4, 13-14
Luke 4:31-37

USCCB Podcast of the Readings:

A reading from the Holy Gospel according to Luke.

Jesus went down to Capernaum, a town of Galilee.
He taught them on the sabbath,
and they were astonished at his teaching
because he spoke with authority.
In the synagogue there was a man with the spirit of an unclean demon, 
and he cried out in a loud voice,
“What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth?
Have you come to destroy us?
I know who you are–the Holy One of God!”
Jesus rebuked him and said, “Be quiet! Come out of him!”
Then the demon threw the man down in front of them
and came out of him without doing him any harm.
They were all amazed and said to one another,
“What is there about his word?
For with authority and power he commands the unclean spirits,
and they come out.”
And news of him spread everywhere in the surrounding region.

Good News Reflection:

Today’s Gospel reading tells us how powerful Christ’s authority was — and still is. We see him heal a man who did not ask for healing.

Why do you think he could cast out that man’s demon? Because he was God? Ahhh, but he hadn’t yet defeated Satan by sacrificing himself on the cross and conquering death. At this point in salvation history, Jesus had only defeated Satan on a personal level (remember how he faced temptations in the desert).

Was it because the man was ready to repent from the sins that had attracted the evil spirit? There’s no indication of this. Jesus often drove demons out of unconverted people. So, where did he get his authority?

Simply put, the Father gave it to him. And then Jesus passed it on to his disciples (see Luke 10:19), which now includes you!

Authority was one of the temptations that Satan had offered to Jesus in Luke 4:5-8. There are two kinds of authority: good and evil. Good authority is based on love. Jesus didn’t cast out demons because he could. He did it because he cared.

Demons hate love. They can’t stand being around it. That’s why they’re always fighting against it, always seeking ways to break up marriages and holy friendships. What loving relationship are you in which is under attack?

Perfect love contains all the power of God, because he IS love. Perfect love means caring so completely about others that we’re willing to go to the cross for them. A wounded marriage, for example, is healed when both spouses make sacrifices for each other, which is a cross that defeats division.

The cross is never fun nor is it easy. Many of us try to get around it by relying solely on prayers such as “St. Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle ….” Overcoming evil requires more than prayer. It requires personal sacrifice.

Wicked authority seeks to make the self more important. It controls others, it oppresses others, it ignores the needs and wants of others, it rejects opportunities to serve others, it neglects to empower others to use their own God-given authority.

Whenever we intercede for others and pray for help, we can rely on our Savior’s authority, but we must not suppose that he’s going to do anything other than what is most loving for everyone. This usually means no quick fix, but as we use the time to grow stronger in our ability to love others unconditionally and sacrificially, we get lots of opportunities to learn how to overcome evil with love. In this way, Jesus passes his authority on to us.

Today’s Prayer:

Lord Jesus, help me to recognize the areas of my life that need to be delivered by You. Teach me, with Your Spirit, the path of hope, simplicity and full trust in You. Amen.

© 2017 by Terry A. Modica

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