Tuesday of the Twenty-second Week in Ordinary Time
(I Corinthians 2:10b-16; Luke 4: 31-37)
When St. Paul writes of “the spirit of the world,” he may have something in mind beyond dissoluteness. That is, he is thinking of other sins besides lust and drunkenness. He likely is commenting upon what many today would call a “successful life.” For Paul “the spirit of the world” can well mean working hard, making a lot of money, enjoying good food and interesting travel.
The problem Paul has with such a spirit is that it does not see God at the heart of things. It does not recognize God’s love as giving us dignity. It does not thank God for all the good enjoyed. It does not acknowledge that the cross of Christ has availed humans an eternal destiny.
We can understand the demon that Jesus casts out in today’s gospel as “the spirit of the world.” The demon absorbs the man to make him do things opposed to his own well-being. Just so, the worldly successful can act like gods. Paying attention to Jesus, we should be free of such vanity. He will give us the “Spirit of God.” This Spirit knows that God loves us and is bringing about our salvation. It moves us to honor him by taking selfless care of others.