Tuesday – 22nd Week in Ordinary Time
Gospel - Luke 4:31-37
With 40 years of teaching high school religion under my belt, that adds up to thousands of students. And even after all this time, it seems I never forget a face. It’s a running joke with Ginger that we can’t go anywhere without us running into a former student. If that wasn’t odd enough, as soon as I see them, I recognize them and know their name. Then I proceed to tell Ginger – You remember them, they were… they did, they were in that class… and Ginger’s pat answer – I don’t remember!! But I do! I remember them! I know them!
That’s what happening in today’s Gospel – Jesus is preaching in Capernaum and the people are amazed at His teaching. But there is a man there possessed by a demon. And it’s the demon who recognizes Jesus and calls Him by name – You are the Holy One of God!! He recognizes Him not merely as a preacher but as the Son of God. Says something doesn’t it? Even the demons recognize Jesus for who He really is! And it was only yesterday that we read the story of Jesus being forcibly removed from the synagogue in Nazareth, His home town. His own neighbors and friends do not recognize Him; but a demon does!
The question for us today is – do we know Jesus? How do you know Him? Is He just words on a page or stories that you’ve heard or repeated? Is He real? Would we recognize Him? In all those times of trial and heartache, when we prayed so fervently for help, do we remember the Son of the Living God? Do we see Him in the face of others who cry out for justice or mercy or peace? Do we recognize Him in the cries of the poor, the homeless, the lost and forsaken? Do we take the time and the energy and the patience to look for Jesus, remember His presence in our lives and to know that He truly is the Son of the Most High.
And perhaps a more important question – what inner demons prevents us from seeing Jesus, from following Him. Greed? Jealousy? Resentment? Anger? Pettiness? Selfishness? What inner demons do we have that need to be exorcised?
Special prayers and blessings today to my Mom who is celebrating her 96th birthday!