Tuesday of the Twenty-second Week in Ordinary Time
(I Corinthians 2:10b-16; Luke 4:31-37)
Medical authorities note that the misuse of opioid drugs has reached epidemic proportions. Easy access to an assortment of prescribed and illicit opium derivatives is having drastic consequences. Drug overdose is the leading cause of death for Americans under fifty years of age. Life expectancy for Americans has decreased in the last few years because of the epidemic. In today’s gospel Jesus uses his authority to overcome the power of drives like opioid addiction.
Jesus has come from Nazareth where he announced that his anointing to bring relief to the oppressed. He is confronted by a man who is said to have an “unclean demon.” Although demons are commonly thought today to be living spirits, in ancient times they were often associated with inner compulsions. An unclean demon could be a psychological or emotional drive for contact with decomposed matter, excrement, or forbidden food. Jesus’ command forces this demon to leave the besieged soul.
Facing people with opioid addiction or any uncontrollable inner drive, we should turn to Jesus. Prayer will have positive effect on the affected. It may take a while and may not be experienced completely at once, but Jesus will bring relief. Of course, prayer as a spiritual resource should not exclude medical assistance and emotional support. God works in harmony with nature to bring us salvation.