5th Sunday (Note & Bulletin)

In this week’s Gospel, Jesus gives a confusing instruction.  We read: “And he cured many who were sick with various diseases, and cast out many demons; and he would not permit the demons to speak, because they knew him.”  I have always found it difficult to understand why the Lord often told those he had just healed or freed from demons to be silent.  I would think it would be more helpful to encourage them to speak and to tell as many people as possible what he has done.  If they did this, then more would know who he was and know of his power.  And if more people knew, then it follows that more people would join and support him.  Yet, this is not what he did.  He would not let the demons speak because they knew who he was, namely, the Son of God and Saviour of the world.  I remember as a student in college, in our classes on government, class discussions were often quite animated.  Students spoke in favour of this or that position while others opposed this or that position.  The whole conversation was always about different ideas, and it was the ideas that we supported or opposed.  I think our human inclination to following ideas is precisely why Christ ordered the demons to be silent.  If the demons declared the identity of Jesus as God, then many would not think or reflect for themselves, but merely seek to follow the “winning team.”  Who would not want to follow or support the all-powerful God and the program he was establishing?  

We often think of the Kingdom of God as being outside of ourselves.  But God’s Kingdom does not begin on the outside, rather it is within us, it lives and grows in each of our hearts.  If we want to establish a world of justice and mercy, we first must allow God’s Kingdom to become a reality within us.  Sometimes we forget this and make a sort of “false start.”  We do not follow this or that idea.  We follow Jesus Christ.  The Lord has the demons be silent because he wants our response to his words and actions to come from our hearts.  A response that explodes from within us, that says, “Yes!  Yes!  This is true!  He is true!”  It is this movement of the heart which we can see in St. Paul who writes: “If I proclaim the Gospel, this gives me no ground for boasting, for an obligation is laid on me, and woe to me if I do not proclaim the Gospel!”  Our call to proclaim the Gospel as a follower of the Lord comes from our experience of him.  He is the answer to all our longing.  In him we hear words that tell us life is meant to be celebrated, not merely endured.  In him we see actions that help us back to our feet, knowing that his love gives us the courage to try again.  God’s Kingdom is being written on our hearts, it is becoming who we are.  And so we need only be the people we are – a people who know mercy, compassion, gentleness, tenderness, forgiveness, justice and love, a people who know him. 

Take care, and God Bless! —Fr John

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