Tuesday, September 1 ~ Twenty-Second Week in Ordinary Time
Holy Gospel: Luke 4:31-37 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.
Meditation: When you listen to the word of the Lord in Sacred Scripture how do you respond? In one ear and out the other? Half-hearted while surrounded by various distractions? Or do you listen to the word of the Lord with the full assent of faith, a heart longing for his word, a desire to learn, embrace and live as a doer of his word and not simply a hearer of his word (ref. James 1:22)? When Jesus taught he spoke with authority. He spoke the word of God as no one had spoken it before. When the Rabbis taught they supported their statements with quotes from other authorities. The prophets spoke with delegated authority – Thus says the Lord. When Jesus spoke he needed no authorities to back his statements. He was word incarnate, authority incarnate – the Word of God made flesh. When he spoke, God spoke. When Jesus commanded even the demons obeyed!
Prayer: Almighty ever-living God, whom, taught by the Holy Spirit, we dare to call our Father, bring, we pray, to perfection in our hearts the spirit of adoption as your sons and daughters, that we may merit to enter into the inheritance which you have promised. 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.
Contemplation: Contemplating on today’s Gospel from a different perspective, what if each of us – not as an unclean demon, but as a brother or sister in Christ Jesus – were to ask “What have you to do with me, Jesus of Nazareth?” Hopefully we would respond first recognizing who Jesus is – the Son of God, sent out of love by God to be the Redeemer and Savior of the world, and that each of us are part of the world whom Jesus wishes to redeem as our Savior. That’s right, you, me, and every man, woman and child on this earth, past, present and future. Second, we need to understand that this can only occur if we invite Jesus into our lives and let him, as the Good Shepherd, lead us and guide us through the often “dark valley of death” (Psalm 23) that we encounter in our various challenges in life, and be at our side to experience the joy and peace of being an authentic disciple of his. So, “what have you to do with me, Jesus of Nazareth?” Everything that truly matters – our salvation.