Wednesday, July 01, 2020

Wednesday of the Thirteenth Week in Ordinary Time

It is obvious to recognize evil when it takes a form that is vile and ugly, just think of images from The Exorcist or any other frightening movie. But evil rarely displays itself in such obvious depictions that can be labeled so clearly. Evil is much more insidious, hiding beneath the surface.

Jesus is confronted by two “demoniacs,” individuals possessed by violent demons. It is so clear that the Evil One is possessing them by the ugliness of their appearance, accompanied by such violence. They also recognize Jesus and his power, insinuating that his power is greater than theirs.

Clearly they were right, as Jesus commands these evil spirits to leave the individuals and enter the swine. These poor pigs ended up being sent down the steep cliffs to their death. Those poor swineherds lost a lot of money by this exorcism!! No wonder they told Jesus to leave their town.

Evil is quite present in the world and exerts much power over our lives. Usually, we aren’t aware of the presence of the Evil One, at least not consciously. But he is there, working overtime.

Three children were shot and killed in their homes in one weekend, not to mention the dozens of gun shootings.
Many Neighborhoods continue to be places where the poor are ignored, schools are substandard, businesses are few, their financial infrastructure collapsing.
Peaceful protests turn horribly violent, causing untold damage.
Millions of people die from poverty regularly.
Wealthy nations continue to dominate economics and consumer spending, frequently at the expense of the poor.
Greed, so evident in affluent lifestyles, is flaunted in the media.
Selfish responses to the pandemic by self absorbed individuals refusing to follow the restrictions necessary to keep people safe.

Evil, the evil one, however you choose to label this presence, can take possession of us in ways we are unaware, masking under beauty and wealth. This is much more frightening than any movie. And powerful.

May the power of Christ awaken us to the presence of the deceiver, that he may be banished and expelled , not through a herd of pigs... but simply by evaporating. In the end, evil is emptiness, nothingness. WE give it power by a lack of spiritual depth. Prayer is the greatest weapon against evil; prayer rooted in Christ is our true power, that builds character, strengthens family and community, creates new stable economies, and establishes peace among people.

Fr. Frank