“Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of them pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing had happened.“ ~ Winston S. Churchill
In today’s 1st Reading, we move on to the 3rd Chapter of Saint Paul’s 1st letter to the people of Corinth (1 Corinthians 3:1-9) wherein Paul follows up on yesterday’s discourse (1 Corinthians 2:10-16) pertaining to a life formed in the spirit. “As infants in Christ, I fed you milk, not solid food, because you were unable to take it,” he tells them, a nod to his patience and understanding as it relates to the radical nature of his message and their ability to comprehend it.
Paul goes on to address the jealousy and rivalry that is simmering amongst them, that which threatens to disrupt the foundation of their fledgling faith community. He reminds them that only through God can they grow in their faith. The “planters” and the “waterers,” metaphors he attaches to himself and Apollos respectively, were the conduits through which they became believers. Faith and the pursuit of wisdom, knowledge and understanding ~ all spiritual gifts that can only be received through God ~ will carry them forward, but only in proportion to their devotion and desire to pursue them.
In today’s Gospel (Luke 4:38-44), eerily similar to yesterday’s (Luke 4:31-37) in one particularly intriguing way, Jesus continues to heal those in his midst, including Simon’s mother-in-law, whom we’re told “got up immediately and waited upon them” (4:39) after being cured by Jesus. Clearly this woman was tougher than a Waffle House Steak. Cal Ripken’s consecutive game streak would most definitely be in jeopardy if Simon’s mother-in-law was a baseball player. I can’t imagine anything that would‘ve kept her out of the lineup.
But with regard to the aforementioned similarities, it’s interesting to note that in both cases, the demons whom Jesus would ultimately drive out knew that he was the Son of God.
“I know who you are; the Holy One of God!” (4:34).
These were the words of the man possessed by an unclean demon (...is there any other kind?) in yesterday’s passage. Today we learn that Jesus cleansed many in his midst of various afflictions, both physical and spiritual, as the demons that departed those who were possessed shouted, “You are the Son of God.” (4:41).
Yes, the truth is written on the hearts of even the demonic. Satan himself knows that the taunting words of Saint Teresa of Avila ~ “When the devil tries to remind you of your past, remind him of his future” ~ are indeed prophetic, his miserable days numbered. But in a world drowning in ginned up hatred and resentment, where slander and calumny are as abundant as hand sanitizer https://hubpages.com/religion-philosophy/Avoiding-Casual-False-Witness, it’s clear that the Prince of Darkness is making a maniacal last ditch effort to drag as many souls as possible with him to his eternal dwelling place.
But if the demons could know Jesus, just imagine how much more we the faithful could come to know Him. Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, in an address to a large youth group a number of years ago, addressed those gathered by saying “Dear young people, the happiness you are seeking, the happiness you have a right to enjoy has a name and a face: it is Jesus of Nazareth, hidden in the Eucharist.”
The Sacrament of Holy Communion, the source and summit of our faith, offers us the opportunity to encounter Jesus in the most profound and intimate of ways. When we seek Jesus in our lives, we can be sure that He seeks us with even greater ardor and fervor. To quote Saint John of the Cross, “In the first place, it should be known that if a person is seeking God, His beloved is seeking him much more.”
Jesus’ offer to come to him carries with it no fine print or expiration date, yet the time to act is now. For as an old and very poignant saying goes, “Many who plan to seek God at the eleventh hour die at 10:30.”