Thursday of the Fourteenth Week in Ordinary Time
(Hosea 11:1-4.8e-9; Matthew 10:7-15)
Demons are usually associated with the devil. However, the word has a more generalized meaning. They may be more properly thought of as evil spirits. These spirits are the vices that commonly ruin people’s lives. Pope St. Gregory the Great famously named seven – greed, envy, lust, sloth, anger, pride, and gluttony. They are now classified as the seven capital sins because they give rise to other sins. In today’s gospel Jesus gives his apostles orders to drive these demons out of those whom they encounter on their mission.
The Church uses the Sacrament of Reconciliation to fulfill Jesus’ mandate today. Through the sacrament the penitent’s sins are forgiven and her resolve not to sin again is strengthened. In these ways Reconciliation witnesses to the Kingdom of heaven which the apostles are to proclaim.
The Second Vatican Council declared that every Christian is called to holiness. The novelty of this statement was that many lay people had thought that this state of perfection was the pursuit of religious and clergy, not themselves. But just because holiness is meant to be universal does not mean that it is easy to attain. We have to develop the virtues in order to live righteously. In the quest we should make frequent use of the Sacrament of Reconciliation to lift us up when we falter.