Daily Meditation: "Laying his hands on each one, He healed them. Demons were driven out"
Gospel text (Lc 4,38-44):
Leaving the synagogue, Jesus went to the house of Simon. His mother-in-law was suffering from high fever and they asked him to do something for her. Bending over her, He rebuked the fever, and it left her. Immediately she got up and waited on them. At sunset, people suffering from many kinds of sickness were brought to Jesus. Laying his hands on each one, He healed them. Demons were driven out, howling as they departed from their victims, "You are the Son of God!". He rebuked them and would not allow them to speak, for they knew He was the Messiah.
Jesus left at daybreak and looked for a solitary place. People went out in search of him and, finding him, they tried to dissuade him from leaving. But He said, "I have to go to other towns to announce the good news of the kingdom of God. That is what I was sent to do". So Jesus continued to preach in the synagogues of the Jewish country.
"Laying his hands on each one, He healed them. Demons were driven out"
Today, we are facing a great contrast: people out in search of Jesus and him healing all kind of “sickness” (starting with Simon's mother-in-law); at the same time, "demons were driven out, howling!" (Lk 4:41). That is: On one side, goodness and peace; evil and despair, on the other.
It is not the first time we see the devil being “driven out” that is, escaping from the presence of God amid shouting and expostulation. Let us remember the demon-possessed man of Gerasenes (cf. Lk 8:26-39). Yet, it is surprising that, here, it is the same devil that “comes out” to meet Jesus (though, admittedly, quite furious and angry, for God's presence was disturbing his shameful tranquility).
How often, too, we think that finding Jesus is just a nuisance! It bothers us having to attend Mass on Sundays; it flusters us to remember how long it is since our last prayer; we are ashamed of our mistakes, but we do not go to the Doctor of our soul begging for forgiveness... Let us ponder whether it is not our Lord who has to come out looking for us, when we are “reluctant” to leave our little “cave” to go out and meet He who is the shepherd of our souls and lives! This is simply called, half-heartedness.
This behavior has a diagnosis, though: apathy, lack of tension in our soul, anguish, disorderly curiosity, hyperactivity, spiritual laziness about matters of faith, pusillanimity, desire of being alone with ourselves... But there is also an antidote: to stop contemplating one's navel and getting down to work. To take the small commitment to devote every day a short while to look and listen to Jesus (this is what we call praying): Jesus did it too, for "He left at daybreak and looked for a solitary place" (Lk 4:42). To take the small commitment of defeating our selfishness in some small thing every day for the benefit of others (this is what we call loving). To take the small-great commitment to live every day coherently with our Christian life.
Fr. Antoni CAROL i Hostench
(Sant Cugat del Vallès, Barcelona, Spain)
Audio: Wednesday 22st in OrdinaryTime