Monday, October 24, 2016
When we hear about demon possession in the Holy Scriptures many of us don’t consider that we have anything to benefit. Many of us either do not believe in demons, or we accept that we aren’t ourselves possessed by demons. The truth is, we all have demons that take control over our life. Our demons may not be the spiritual demons that we read about in the Holy Scriptures, but we all have struggles that control us with no less power to cripple our lives. The Good News is that God is able and willing to heal us from our demons, no matter what that demon may be, and we can be freed from the struggle to follow Him and be a witness of the great things God has done for us.
Saturday, October 22, 2016
When we think of faith, many times we think of how we believe God will do special things for us. We “have faith” that God will find us a job. We “have faith” that God will help us get pregnant. We “have faith” that God will find us a new house. It seems we always “have faith” for that God will look favorably upon us, but what about others? Consider today’s Gospel Reading:
Luke 7:1-10 (RSV) - At that time, Jesus entered Capernaum. Now a centurion had a slave who was dear to him, who was sick and at the point of death. When he heard of Jesus, he sent to him elders of the Jews, asking him to come and heal his slave. And when they came to Jesus, they besought him earnestly, saying, "He is worthy to have you do this for him, for he loves our nation, and he built us our synagogue." And Jesus went with them. When he was not far from the house, the centurion sent friends to him, saying to him, "Lord, do not trouble yourself, for I am not worthy to have you come under my roof; therefore I did not presume to come to you. But say the word, and let my servant be healed. For I am a man set under authority, with soldiers under me: and I say to one, 'Go,' and he goes; and to another, 'Come,' and he comes; and to my slave, 'Do this,' and he does it." When Jesus heard this he marveled at him, and turned and said to the multitude that followed him, "I tell you, not even in Israel have I found such faith." And when those who had been sent returned to the house, they found the slave well.
The centurion wasn’t asking for himself. He wasn’t even asking that Jesus come all the way to his house. “Say the word, and let my servant be healed.” Yes, he was showing his faith that Jesus only had to speak and his servant would be healed, but there is something more in the reading if we open our eyes. Consider the deep humility of the centurion. When was the last time you asked God for a blessing for someone else without any regard for yourself? When was the last time you said, “God, You don’t even have to come to me. Just say a word and that little boy I have never met, whose picture I saw on the internet, will be healed.” When was the last time you didn’t feel blessed because God “heard” YOUR prayers and healed someone?
I’m not suggesting we shouldn’t want God to heal our friends. I’m not even suggesting that we should only pray for complete strangers. But we should consider if our prayers lack the humility of the centurion. Just something to consider as you prepare to attend Divine Liturgy tomorrow. Don’t forget to say your prayers and prepare to receive Holy Communion.
Friday, October 21, 2016
Many times we read the Gospel stories about demoniacs like the one in the Gospel (Luke 8.26-39) and we think there is nothing relevant for us today. Most of us don’t even believe demons are real, let alone know of anyone who may be possessed by them. Of course, they are real, but the truth is, even if we do not suffer from demons we can still benefit from this story from the Holy Scriptures.
We all have demons that control us. They may not be the sort that are described in the Gospel, but the demons that control our life have effects that are just as crippling. Our demons are the passions, temptations, and sins that surround us. Here are a few to consider: depression, anxiety, laziness, various addictions, and various emotional and physical illnesses. These all tend to overpower us and can even take control of our lives, sometimes even leaving us lifeless.
But there is hope for even the most violent and crippling demon. As Christ approached the demoniac described in the Gospel of Luke, He found a man that had so many demons he no longer lived in the city among his family and friends, but in the wilderness among the graves. He had become a complete outcast from society. Sometimes we can feel alone and without family and friends. Sometimes we can even feel totally abandoned and want to call out to God for help. There is always help. There is always God. There is always a way to return home. We only have to approach God and He can help. There is no demon that God cannot heal or remove from our soul if we ask.