Jesus expels evil everywhere

2024년 1월 28일

Jesus expels evil everywhere

< Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time >

              Even a quick glance at the headlines in the news on any given day reveals a shocking truth: evil is real and evil is everywhere. From the bloody conflict between Israel and Hamas in Gaza, to the cruel war Russia is inflicting on Ukraine, evil is global. More shocking is the realization that evil is infesting our country and even our neighborhood. But most alarming of all is when evil stares us right in the face. I have been in the charismatic renewal since the 1970s and since becoming a priest I have done a fair share of exorcisms. If I had to rely on my own faith or courage, I could never have done it. But I knew then as I know now that the One who is in me is greater, is stronger, is more powerful than the one who is in the world. But the one time I felt the actual presence of evil inside of me was when I was having dinner with a group of priests and one of them started saying the most terrible things about the Jewish people. I’m not just referring to the evil of antisemitism, which is bad enough, but to the evil of anger and hatred I began feeling inside of me against this man. There is the true power of evil: to make us hate another human being. In Jesus’ name I prayed for my antisemitic friend and I rejected the temptation to hate him.

Today’s gospel declares the good news that Jesus can expel evil. The kingdom of Satan crumbles before the kingdom of God. But that battle is still raging today. The biggest war is not between Russia and Ukraine, or Jews against Arabs, nor even between Republicans and Democrats, but rather between the Devil and God and we–each one of us– is not only a warrior but a battlefield. We defeat evil and the devil every time each time we forgive one another, or apologize for harming another, or expelling all hate from our hearts. Yes, evil is real. But so is Jesus. And the power of Christ within us gives us the strength to defeat evil in our hearts, in our lives, our neighborhoods, city, country and world. And we claim all of these for Christ.