Homilette for Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Wednesday of the Thirteenth Week in Ordinary Time

(Matthew 8:28-34)

The townspeople of the gospel passage today seem like ingrates after Jesus relieves them of a public menace. They beg Jesus to leave their territory because he has cast out demons from two men who threatened travelers. But the townspeople, who are pagan, may be just unsure of who Jesus is. Obviously he has supernatural power, but will he use it for good or for evil? They will take no chances.

Much of Matthew’s gospel probes the question, who is Jesus? His words calm storms and heal people of lifelong illnesses. He teaches with a new ethic based on purity of heart that calls prostitutes and swindlers sinners to righteousness. Jews as well as pagans wonder about the nature of Jesus’ authority. In the end the aristocracy of Jerusalem condemns him to death as an enemy of the people. However, a pagan soldier seeing his gracious suffering pronounces the ultimate judgment, “Truly, this was the son of God.”

Many today wonder not so much about Jesus but about the legacy he has left. They question whether Christians truly live the righteousness that Jesus taught. Although Christian virtue is predominantly manifest, there is always evidence of coexistent vice. By daily pursuing the good, we assure the world that Jesus was truly the son of God who graces his followers.