Thursday, March 31, 2011

Thursday of the Third Week in Lent

(Jeremiah7:23-28; Luke 11:14-23)

A seminarian in Washington, D.C., during the time of Pope John Paul II’s visit in 1979 was having difficulty deciding whether to go the Mass on the Capitol Mall. He reasoned that it was not likely he would come close to the popular visitor and that he could better use the time for study. Then he heard a sermon urging everyone to attend. The preacher said that the visit was unique – the first time a pope visited the U.S. Capitol. The seminarian took the advice and attended the mass along with hundreds of thousands of others. He was never less than hundreds of yards away from the pontiff, but, nevertheless, was for a long time grateful he made the effort to see him in person. In the gospel the people surrounding Jesus have a similar kind of decision to make.

When Jesus tells the people that the Kingdom of God is at hand with his coming, many resist trusting his word. Like the seminarian they give half-hearted excuses for their reservations. They say that Jesus is in league with the devil, or that he needs to prove himself by still another miracle. Jesus commands their trust by pointing out that he has already shown himself to be Satan’s adversary and the doer of mighty deeds.

Some of us as well may harbor reservations about giving ourselves fully over to Jesus. We may say that if the Savior really has come, the world would be better. Perhaps it is the presence of so much poverty, violence, and disease that upsets us. Yet we should realize that the world by definition is compromised by evil. Jesus took measures against the maladies that trouble us and others also. By aligning ourselves with him, we will be better overcome the evil that troubles us. As importantly, by belonging to Jesus, the evil of our own hearts will be exposed and extricated.