In the U.S., one the sad realities of the protests against racism is that they are now bringing down Catholic images. One of the favorite targets is St. Junipero Serra. He was the one who brought the faith to California, but those who take down his image claim that he mistreated the Indian Natives. Of course, history always has two sides and you can point out what you want to point out, flaws included. It is not a perfect world and no one has lived a perfect life. The point here though, is that issues have now evolved perhaps to anger, frustration, and revenge. Catholics and Christians in fact might say, “Why is God quiet?” or like in the Gospel, despite the storm, “Why is Jesus sleeping? Does He not care?”
In St. Matthew’s Gospel of Jesus and the two demon-possessed men, they cry out to him, “Have you come here to torment us before the appointed time?” Then Jesus allowed the demons to enter the swine, which all rushed down to the ocean and died, thus healing the men.
Three reflections on this Gospel reading and its relevance in our times.
- Look at everything that is happening in the world – not only politically, economically, and historically, but spiritually as well. In the spiritual realm, there is the seen and the unseen; there is good and evil.
- Many spiritual writers have said that the devil knows that its demise is near. That is why in the Gospel, the question, “Have you come here to torment us before the appointed time?” What then, does evil do? It is very active in breaking the family, the Church, the country, and the world. Evil is always active breaking the most important creation of God, which are His children. In fact, it is said, the devil is happiest when a child is aborted. According to the WHO, there are 40-50 million abortions every year.
- Fight the unseen with Faith. Being the only Church Christ founded on earth, we can make use of Sacramentals, particularly the Mass. Yes, many Churches are only allowing limited people in this pandemic, but thanks to technology, the Church is brought to the home. The rosary, exorcised water, exorcised salt, St. Benedict’s medallion, and the scapular are very powerful. Prayer with fasting and almsgiving are also very powerful.
My dear friends, these are very difficult times. Hopefully we open our eyes to the many miracles each day because God is always working in all the events of life. Politics may be down, the economy may be down, social structure may be affected, but we continue to fix our gaze on the Lord. The Gospel reminds us, Good will always prevail.