Tuesday, Twenty-second Day of Ordinary Time

Today’s Scripture Readings

1 Corinthians 2:10b-16, Psalm 145:8-14, Luke 4:31-37

There are lots of spirits in today’s readings: the spirit of men, Spirit of God, unclean spirits. Personally I’m big on Spirit. My sense of my relationship with God is with God’s Spirit.

Without going into the details, the Corinthians are having an esoteric argument about having the proper spirit that would make a person wise, mature and perfect so they would be superior to others. The Gospel tells a simple story to illustrate that God’s Spirit overcomes evil spirits and heals people.

In both cases the proper Spirit is the Spirit of Jesus. When Jesus is present the Holy One of God drives out whatever afflicts a person. Paul says it this way, “so that we may understand the things freely given us by God.”

We certainly don’t always understand the things that go on around us, or things that happen to us. I’m sure each of us has had demons that have hobbled what we were able to do. Sometimes our society can’t accept a change that would mean more equality or opportunity for others. It isn’t always clear where we need contemporary exorcisms.

However, I think we should still recognize that it is the Spirit within us that needs healing. If we can heal the spirit, then life changes. The simplest example I can think of is rainy days. Sometimes a rainy day makes me feel like I don’t want to get out of bed. Just stay under those covers and leave me alone. Yet just as often the day can be rainy and dark and I am eager to light a fire in the fireplace, sit on the couch and read a good book. On those days the rain gives me a reason to do what I want. What’s the difference? The difference is the Spirit of the day. Spirit can change anything. How many stories do we hear about physically disabled people who go on to overcome adversity and challenge our very understanding of what it means to be disabled?

These may not sound like spiritual examples. But I think they are. God’s Spirit is so woven into all of reality that you can’t separate worldly concerns from heavenly concerns. I think every decision we ever make is a spiritual connection to the God who made us. How else do we define ourselves except by the decisions we make. We either express in how we live, a life of love and care and humility, guided by what we have learned of God’s love and care for us or we don’t. We either do things that reflect and create a relationship with God or we let other ideas, other spirits, rule who we are. It doesn’t mean we get it right all the time. It means we are trying to follow what Jesus showed us. When we do, when we choose the way of love and generosity, then unclean spirits will be driven out because we too know who the Holy One of God is and just as Paul said, “we have the mind of Christ” and it is his Spirit that can change lives, rainy day or not.

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