>> Monday, September 1, 2008
First Reading: 1 Corinthians 2:10-16
Gospel: Luke 4:31-37
Jesus Drives Out an Evil Spirit
Then he went down to Capernaum, a town in Galilee, and on the Sabbath began to teach the people. They were amazed at his teaching, because his message had authority. In the synagogue there was a man possessed by a demon, an evil spirit. He cried out at the top of his voice, "Ha! What do you want with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are—the Holy One of God!" "Be quiet!" Jesus said sternly. "Come out of him!" Then the demon threw the man down before them all and came out without injuring him. All the people were amazed and said to each other, "What is this teaching? With authority and power he gives orders to evil spirits and they come out!" And the news about him spread throughout the surrounding area.
Jesus rebuked him and said, "Be quiet! Come out of him!" - Luke 4:35
There are times in my life when I thought that I could rely solely on my own strength and intelligence and will. These are the times when I thought that I could do anything - when successes come one after the other. These are such happy and glorious times that I tend to rely solely on myself. But there are also times when challenges beset me. Believing that I can do it myself because I have been victorious and successful in many ways, I depend on what I have and what I can do. Then things begin to crumble to pieces because I only have myself to rely upon. I know I can do it, but why do I seem to fall apart?
It is during these failing moments, when I seem to give up on life, that I pray to God. There, God revealed to me my own pride. Of course I lift up to Him my weakness, I do trust in His power to help me in my weaknesses, but I too often rely on myself - Ah, Pride! But what good can it do?
God used these circumstances to teach me that victoriously serving Him does not hinge on my willpower or even talents He has given me. God calls on me to rely solely on His power in all circumstances. This power that He gave to us as believers is the same power that raised Jesus from the dead. And it is also the power that Jesus Christ used to command the evil spirit to leave the man in today's Gospel reading. While things don't always go as I expect, I am learning to rely on God's power and greatness than on my personal fortitudes.
May God bless us all!