Thursday, June 28, 2007


The man from whom the demons had gone begged that he might be with him; but Jesus sent him away, saying, "Return to your home, and declare how much God has done for you." So he went away, proclaiming throughout the city how much Jesus had done for him. Lk 8: 38-39

The Old Testament reading and Gospel of June 24 bring to mind the grandeur of God’s power and how it manifests itself throughout humanity. Retiring to Mt. Horeb in fear of retaliation by Jezebel, Elijah, the great prophet of Israel, witnesses the coming of God’s voice in the wind, earthquake and fire. But those awesome phenomena simply precede the sheer silence that accompanies the reassuring voice of God. Jesus’ disciples, the swineherds, the country people and city dwellers of the Gerasenes witness Jesus’ powerful healing love in the exorcism of the “Legion” of demons possessing the man who lived in the tombs. In both instances, human beings were blessed to be witnesses to God’s power and love at work in our world. In his encounter with God, Elijah received the strength and power needed to return to his ministry of prophecy – serving as a messenger of God - confronting King Ahab and Jezebel. Jesus’ disciples were already committed to his ministry of healing and love. Yet, the other witnesses to the exorcism reacted in fear occasioned by lack of understanding, closing themselves off from the transformative power of God’s love. Although the man who had been possessed begged Jesus to allow him to become part of his company of disciples, Jesus instructed the man to return to his home town. This man’s ministry was to proclaim in his community how much Jesus had done for him – a complete transformation that no one could deny.

We continue to see God’s handiwork in our lives albeit in a world torn with violence and conflict. We see God’s power in the bonds of our loving relationships. This week, meeting with two different families in preparation for their children’s baptisms, God’s love was manifest within the families and in the commitment the sponsors were making to their friends and the children. One prospective godfather, traveled from his job in Las Vegas in order to attend the preparation class! Another family who had grown up in Nuestra Señora is traveling from their home in Kenosha, Wisconsin for the baby’s baptism. Our world is continually beset by the violence that led to the shooting death of thirteen year old Schanna Gayden in Logan Square two days before I write this message. Yet, last night, the power of God’s love was manifest as the community came together in prayer to console Schanna’s family following the death this innocent victim of gang crossfire.

Just as God reaffirmed Elijah’s ministry, his power and love continues to reaffirm and reassure us in this sometimes frightening world. Just as Jesus directed the man who had been possessed to proclaim how much Jesus had done for him, we and our congregations are called to proclaim the God’s blessings – loving families, good health, solid Christian formation, educational and career opportunities. Given the gang violence in our community, let us double our efforts in reaching out to the young people in our neighborhood. By sharing our blessings and ourselves with the young people through our various church events and activities, let us proclaim how much Jesus has done for all of us. Let us be witnesses to the power of God’s love.

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