22nd Week, Tuesday, Sept 1

1 Cor 2:10-16 / Luke 4:31-37
Paul speaks about the Spirit: The Spirit helps us appraise everything. 

In the ninth book of his Confessions, St. Augustine an incident near the end of the life of St. Monica, his mother. They were in Rome standing at a window, overlooking a garden. Augustine writes: "We had gone there . . .   to get away from the noisy crowd and rest.
And so the two of us.. . we enjoying a way pleasant conversation. . . . We were asking one another . . .what it would be like to share the eternal life enjoyed by the saints …"In the course of our conversation that day, the world and its pleasures lost all their attraction for us." Augustine and Monica experienced what Paul talks about in today's reading. Is our attraction to the things of this world growing stronger or weaker? "The Spirit will lead you into all the truth." John 16:13 
First Reading 
One word that has been used to describe Christian living is "journey." An older and perhaps more applicable word is 
"struggle." Paul describes the struggle between the Spirit of Christ and the spirit of the world. It is an experience we all might have felt as we are torn by the dilemmas of our life. Such a struggle can eventuate in growth toward Christian maturity and wisdom. It enables us to rise above the spirituality and outlook we had in primary or grammar school as we develop the spiritual tools, criteria, mechanisms and strategies for dealing with adult life in a Christian way. These are the materials of an appraisal of spiritual and secular things that Paul describes. Their use results in our gradual approximation to the mind of Christ. Slowly, we begin to be able to think like the Lord. 

The closer we are to the mind of Christ, the more dramatic is the struggle we have with the spirit of the world. This is one reason why the Lord's confrontations with Satan and the evil spirits in the Gospels are so stark and brutal. We are witnessing in them the collision of two opposites. This is why the saints were very conscious of sin and more aware of wrongdoing in the slightest things than are most people. The light of Christ floods our minds revealing little scrapes and scars that otherwise we would never have noticed. This inner light constitutes the difference between Francis of Assisi and Jack the Ripper 

Whenever deliverance or exorcism is mentioned, we may think of something dramatic happening, much like what we see in the movies. We may think of images of the possessed person shouting and other weird things happening. We probably got these impressions from what we read in the gospels about how Jesus cast off devils and evil spirits. One such instance is in today's gospel when the evil spirit that possessed the man shouted at Jesus. But Jesus said sharply, "Be quiet! Come out of him." And the evil spirit came out of the man without hurting him at all. We may not have seen such things happening, especially in church. We don't expect such things to happen in church of all places. But that doesn't mean that there are no evil spirits around. But if Jesus gave the Church the authority and the power to cast out evil, then how is it happening?  In a less dramatic way, but certainly in no less a powerful way, we see it happening in the Confessional. People who have heard the Word of God and have opened their hearts to the cleansing and healing Word, will realise the sin and the evil in their hearts.  They go for the Sacrament of Reconciliation and there Jesus cleanses and casts out the evil in their hearts, and they are healed and forgiven. Let us also listen to the Word of God and open our hearts to the Word. And when we realise the sin and the evil in our hearts let us go for the Sacrament of Reconciliation.  There we will be cleansed and forgiven. That is the power of the Word of God, and that is also the power and the authority that Jesus has given to His Church.

Let us pray: Lord our God, we say that authority means service, but we experience that it is very hard to make this beautiful principle work. Keep always before our eyes the example of your Son Jesus Christ. His authority was healing and saving, respectful of people and yet committing us to get out of our mediocrity. May all authority among us be humble, dedicated, self-effacing, willing to serve to the end, and patterned after that of Jesus, your Son and our Lord for ever. Amen. God bless.