Wednesday, July 2 ~ Thirteenth Week in Ordinary Time
Holy Gospel: Matthew 8:28-34
When Jesus came to the territory of the Gadarenes, two demoniacs who were coming from the tombs met him. They were so savage that no one could travel by that road. They cried out, “What have you to do with us, Son of God? Have you come here to torment us before the appointed time?” Some distance away a herd of many swine was feeding. The demons pleaded with him, “If you drive us out, send us into the herd of swine.” And he said to them, “Go then!” They came out and entered the swine, and the whole herd rushed down the steep bank into the sea where they drowned. The swineherds ran away, and when they came to the town they reported everything, including what had happened to the demoniacs. Thereupon the whole town came out to meet Jesus, and when they saw him they begged him to leave their district.
Jesus took pity on these men who were overtaken by a legion of evil spirits. The destructive force of these demons is evident for all who can see as they flee and destroy a herd of swine. After Jesus freed the demoniacs the whole city came out to meet him. No one had demonstrated such power and authority against the forces of Satan as Jesus did. They feared Jesus as a result and begged him to leave them. Why would they not want Jesus to stay? Perhaps the price for such liberation from the power of evil and sin was more than they wanted to pay. Jesus is ready and willing to free us from anything that binds us and that keeps us from the love of God. Are you willing to part with anything that might keep you from his love and saving grace?
God of justice, Father of truth, who guide creation in wisdom and goodness to fulfillment in Christ your Son, open our hearts to the truth of his Gospel, that your peace may rule in our hearts and your justice guide our lives. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
There were a growing number of Christians in Rome within a dozen or so years after the death of Jesus. Wherever the Good News of Jesus was preached, it met the same opposition as Jesus did, and many of those who began to follow him shared his suffering and death. But no human force could stop the power of the Spirit unleashed upon the world. The blood of martyrs has always been, and will always be, the seed of Christians. When you face opposition from friend, family members, co-workers, neighbors, classmates – whomever – for living your life according to the teachings of Christ and his Catholic Church, fear not as you are in good company. Jesus was ridiculed and mocked for proclaiming the truth, his apostles and disciples were mocked and scored for living the truth. We live in an era where it is acceptable – even “fashionable” – to embrace a life of political correctness, an era where many do not want to offend a friend or go against a societal trend by saying “no” but have no problem turning away from God of offending him. Never shy away from living your life according to the laws of God and the teachings of Jesus Christ. Remember, you profess to be a disciple of Christ – prove it by your actions.
On this Independence Day
We would do well to recall and reflect upon the words of Blessed John Paul II: “For the Christian people of America conversion to the Gospel means to revise all the different areas and aspects of life, especially those related to the social order and the pursuit of the common good. It will be especially necessary to nurture the growing awareness in society of the dignity of every person and, therefore, to promote in the community a sense of the duty to participate in political life in harmony with the Gospel.”