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Homily

Continued Authority and Power of His Word, Lk 4:38-44 (Wednesday of the 22nd week in Year B)
By Augustine Agwulonu
Wed, 02 Sep 2015

  CONTINUED AUTHORITY AND POWER OF HIS WORD (Lk 4:38-44) 

By Fr. Augustine Agwulounu,OP

 We observe the continued manifestation of the authority and power of Jesus’ spoken word. According to this morning’s Gospel reading, Jesus went against the high fever, which Peter’s mother-in-law suffered. Notice how Jesus bent over the sick woman and rebuked the high fever as he did to the demons that possessed people. During Jesus’ time, practically every sickness was personified as a demon. That was a way of tracing the root cause of sickness and other evils to Satan and its wicked demons. Jesus’ mode of healing was to attack and defeat evil, in its various appearances, at their root. And so, when Jesus rebuked the high fever, which Peter’s mother-in-law was suffering, it was like performing an exorcism on the woman.

 Now, according to the context of the fourth chapter of Luke’s Gospel, after Jesus applied the authority and power of his word in the Synagogue, which was a public place of worship, and in the presence of a crowd of worshippers, he also made this authority and power felt in the private home of his disciple, Simon Peter. It was as though Jesus pursued and defeated evil wherever it was found – in places of worship, in a private home and in the open arena.

 It was in the evening of the same day that Jesus engaged in a mass healing of people, as they were brought to him. This was a dramatic fulfillment of the Prophecy of Isaiah, as we read on Monday. Jesus recognized that he was anointed to free those who were held captive by the evil and oppressive demonic forces in life.

 Finally, Jesus went to a lonely place to be by himself. Despite his active ministry, Jesus made out time to pray and to renew his strength from his Father. The people found Jesus and wanted him to remain in their town. But Jesus must proclaim the Good News in the other towns and villages. In other words, the Gospel train must be on the move. But, what an irony of life! The people of Capernaum wanted Jesus to stay on in their town, but the people of Nazareth expelled Jesus from a place that was supposed to be his hometown.

 Dear sisters and brothers, Jesus did not abandon the people of Capernaum because he went to preach in their neighboring villages. He remained even closer to them – in their hearts. Jesus wanted the people to believe and learn about his continued presence with them. Jesus knew that he would not be physically present to them forever. He must go his destined way of the cross and into heaven. Thus he desired the people to understand the single way in which he can be present to them always. As they accepted him physically, they also needed to receive him spiritually.

This is the lesson for us this day. The Lord is constantly in our midst. He lives in our hearts. He is our spiritual companion and our shield against the menace of evils, in its various manifestations. Our attention must be fixed on Jesus. We must retain Jesus in our hearts.

 

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