Sem. Errol Salcedo
St. John Eudes, in his book The Kingdom of Jesus said, “Our life as Christians is a continuation of a holy life of Jesus on earth.” (KOJ, p.3) This kind of life is not an empty space but based on the Gospel for today. Jesus preached the good news, healed the sick, and drove out many demons – to build the Kingdom of God here on earth. This kingdom, as many theologians and Scripture scholars would say, is not similar to the kingdom which we see or imagine, but it is a state where God dwells and reigns.
Let me focus my reflection this Sunday (5th Sunday of Ordinary Time) on the Kingdom of God and on how Jesus accomplished this Kingdom here on earth.
First, Jesus healed the Sick.
In the Gospel, Jesus healed Simon’s mother-in-law. I am not a “healing priest” but let me share with you a story that will relate to this event. During my college seminary life, I usually went home for summer vacation. As a Camillian seminarian, sick person for us is like a suffering Jesus. It happened that I met my cousin who just finished his operation. He ate his food through an apparatus in his stomach. The family then asked me to pray for him since they already feel hopeless about his situation. So I prayed-over him – a prayer that really comes from the heart – asking the Lord Jesus, the great healer to heal him through the intercession of St. Camillus de Lellis, the patron saint of the sick. The next year, during my summer vacation, I discovered miraculously that he got well completely. At that time, I cannot but trust and thank God for such Grace.
Second, Jesus drive-out the evil spirits/demons.
Demons today is different from the idea before which has an ugly face with a tail and St. Michael the Archangel was stepping on it. Demons nowadays can be in the form of spirit - an evil spirit - that can entice the person and use that person to spread darkness (evil actions). Demons can easily dwell in us when we are not aware of them and we forget to live the life entrusted by Jesus. They are real, but Jesus is also real and more powerful than them. Jesus can cast out all the evil spirits as we heard in the Gospel for today. Thus, let us come to Jesus and ask Him to drive out all evil spirits in us. Indeed, only Jesus (and only our faith in Jesus) can drive away the evil spirits in our lives.
Lastly is the preaching of the good news.
Jesus’ message is always a message of love, healing, mercy, and hope. It is the good news coming from God. We cannot preach this good news when: 1) we do not receive in our hearts the good news of Jesus 2) when we do not have faith in Jesus because Jesus in itself is our good news. In our second reading St. Paul said, “Woe to me if I do not preach this good news…I preach the good news, so I too may have a share on it” (1 Cor. 9:16-19, 22-23) - for receiving of the good news is a gift and this gift must have to be shared (Rom 12:3-8).
These three things may happen when we always have a personal relationship with God. In the later part of the Gospel, St. Mark showed us that in the very early before dawn, Jesus himself got up and spent time with God in a deserted place (Mk 1:35). This activity is not actually unusual, because before and after of Jesus’ ministry, He always spent time to talk with God.
As Christians, we can always spend time with God. We can always invite Jesus to stay with us and give us the light in times of darkness. So that, our relationship with God may also become the source of healing, the source of casting-out of evil spirits, and the source of sharing of good news to others.