Friday, October 09, 2009
Homily for Oct 9, 2009
Did anyone catch Jesus' humility in today's gospel? Instead of outright contradicting those who accused him of casting out a devil by the power of the prince of devils, he shows them how, had what they said been truly the case, they would have had cause for rejoicing. Were it truly the case that Jesus was casting out devils by the prince of devils then Jesus would have been an instrument of civil war in Satan's kingdom, and therefore those who were speaking ill of Jesus really should have been speaking well of him.
But the people who were speaking ill of Jesus were envious and proud. They did not want to understand that only one stronger than the devil, God himself, could really be behind Jesus' work. Because of their pride, they do not acknowledge that the kingdom of God has come upon them and end up being an obstacle to Jesus and his ministry.
In response, Jesus tells them a parable that diagnoses their illness. Though these people were religious and tried to live according to the law, they fell victim to the spirit of superbia, better known to us as arrogance, one of the eight deadly sins along with gluttony, fornication, avarice, despair, wrath, sloth, and vainglory. Superbia is the temptation to think over highly of one's self after one has already overcome all the other sins. Jesus warns his adversaries that if they are not careful, their pride will lead them to eventually fall to all the other sins.
The question put to us this day is whether we are victims of superbia. Do we attribute the good deeds of others to impure motives? Are we quick to think highly of ourselves for our piety or orthodoxy? Do we look down on those who we think to be sinners or on those less orthodox than us? Are we thinking of someone else we think is proud instead of looking at ourselves. If the answer to any of these is yes, than we may want to learn from Jesus' example of humility this day and remember that we are nothing without God's grace and love.
Yet, we have cause not to be afraid. The good news for us is that Jesus is stronger than any of our vices. He casts out whatever evil afflicts us by the finger of God, digitus Dei in Latin, which is a traditional title for the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is the one who convicts us of sin while at the same time urges us to trust in God's mercy and love. We could liken the Holy Spirit to the refiners fire, for He is the one who convicts us of sin in order to lead us to greater holiness. With His aid we will be able to overcome all our sins.
Remembering from yesterday's gospel that the Father willingly gives the Holy Spirit to those who ask, let us confidently call upon our Father in Jesus name to give us a fresh outpouring of the Holy Spirit, open to discovering our hidden faults so that we can entrust to Him our healing.
Open to the working of the finger of God, we will humbly cooperate even more with Jesus' work of spreading the Kingdom of God.