Service Matters

“I know who you are—-the Holy One of God!” Jesus rebuked him and said, “Quiet!  Come out of him!”  The unclean spirit convulsed him and with a loud cry came out of him.


The demon calls Jesus, “the Holy One of God.”   It is hard to know if he is trying to flatter the Lord or maybe mock him.   There was an ancient belief that knowing someone’s name meant you possessed some sort power over them.   Perhaps it was something like the power that can be had knowing someone’s contact information, identity, or pass words.


One way or another, it is completely clear that he does not intend it as an act of faith.  The unclean spirit has no interest in learning more about who Jesus is or the meaning he gives to the title “Holy One of God.”


Evil thinks it knows everything.  The spirit of evil is the “father of lies.”   So the Lord’s command “Quiet!” is great direction.     Listen and learn.   Raises questions.   Look for truth.  There may not be an answer, may have to be satisfied trusting God in wonder and mystery.


Recently while visiting the Philippines, a teenaged girl go the chance to ask him an important question about the Christian response to evil, “Why do children suffer?”   Pope Francis responded:


Why do children suffer so much? Why do children suffer? When the heart is able to ask itself and weep, then we can understand something. There is a worldly compassion which is useless. You expressed something like this. It’s a compassion that makes us put our hands in our pockets and give something to the poor. But if Christ had had that kind of compassion he would have greeted a couple of people, given them something, and walked on. But it was only when he was able to cry that he understood something of our lives. 


Recently a group here had a thoughtful discussion about what to do next, when they return to their usual setting.   They wondered together how to take the experience and insights that have impacted them powerfully here back home, so that the three days in Camden does not remain just an experience set apart from the rest of their lives.


They can find ways to do that, we all put our faith in action.   As long as we live, if we listen, we will hear God calling us to come out of ourselves, out of any small, orderly world we might construct for ourselves—-to love of God, love of neighbor—-even the least, even our enemy.

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