Fr. Mike’s Homily for Tuesday of 22nd Week in Ordinary Time Cycle I (1)

Jesus with deciples(1)

Jesus with deciples(1)

Fr. Mike’s Homily for Tuesday of 22nd Week in Ordinary Time Cycle I

Theme: The overwhelming power of Jesus

By: Fr. Mike Lagrimas
St. Michael the Archangel Parish
Diocese of Novaliches

Homily for Tuesday August 31 2021

Lk 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, “Ha! 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.

Immediately after His visit to Nazareth, where He was almost thrown down the cliff by his angry townmates, Jesus moves on to Capernaum, a town on the north shore of Galilee. This town becomes the base of His pastoral and missionary activity on Galilee. Just like in Nazareth, He taught the people in the synagogue on the sabbath. “And they were astonished at his teaching because He spoke with authority”. And the people could immediately and clearly see the difference: His teaching is “unlike the scribes” (Mt 7:29; Mk 1:22). While the Scribes taught quoting somebody with authority, Jesus, on the other hand, speaks on His own authority. After all, His authority is directly from God, it is His own. He speaks from His experience of God and of His life.

But Jesus also manifests His authority not only in His teaching, but also in His actions over the forces of evil. While Jesus is teaching in the synagogue, “a man with the spirit of an unclean demon” yells out: “Ha! 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!” (4:33-34).

Let us try to explore the significance of these words. The evil spirit explicitly calls out the name of Jesus: “What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth?” In the conduct of an exorcism, the exorcist has always to ask the evil spirit of its name. Knowing its exact name gives him power over it. This is what the evil spirit in the Gospel today tries to do with Jesus. In pronouncing the name of Jesus, it attempts to exert control over Him. But ,of course, it is in vain.

Secondly, the evil spirit expresses overwhelming fear of the power of Jesus. And so it cries out: “Have you come to destroy us?” The demon is a spirit himself, and so it recognizes the powerful and active presence of another Spirit, infinitely more powerful, working in and through the Anointed Son of God. And in saying this, the evil is already acknowledging the mission of Jesus: to definitively destroy the kingdom of darkness.

And third, it recognizes the divine origin of Jesus: “I know who you are, the Holy One of God!” But recognition is one thing; obedience and respect are another. It knows Jesus is God, but it has no intention of bowing its head before Him. After all, Satan and his cohorts are the enemies of God.
Jesus, then, orders the evil spirit of the man: “Be quiet! Come out of him!” The man is thrown to the ground but is not hurt. The people are awestruck. Exorcism is not something new to the people, but not with such swiftness and finality.

This is not an isolated incident, however: “At sunset, all who had people sick with various diseases brought them to him. He laid his hands on each of them and cured them. And demons also came out from many, shouting, “You are the Son of God” (Lk 4:41). The people are all the more convinced of His divine powers: “What is there about his word? For with authority and power he commands the unclean spirits, and they come out.”

The evil spirit that possessed the man in the synagogue is telling the truth. Jesus of Nazareth is the “Holy One of God”. But interestingly, Jesus immediately orders it to keep its mouth shut: “Be quiet!”

If Jesus is the Truth, then why does He stop the evil spirit from speaking the truth about Him? Tomorrow’s reflection will enumerate and explain the important reasons for this.

Fr. Mike Lagrimas
St. Michael the Archangel Parish
Diocese of Novaliches

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