1Thes 5:1-6,9-11; Ps 27:1,4,13-14; Lk 4:31-37
It takes courage to wait for anyone or anything. We can only do so much to make things happen. Then we have to wait. We can only do so much to raise our children in the faith. We can only do so much to influence our government to respect life. We can only do so much to enlighten our enemies. Then we have to wait. Then it is out of our hands. However, if the truth be told it was never entirely in our hands from the start. From the very beginning of our union with God in the Body of Christ, we have been given great gifts from on high. We have been given light and salvation. We have been given a refuge for our lives. Now, the only thing that matters is that we seek to dwell in the house of the Lord and gaze upon the loveliness of the Lord. All that matters is that we grow in virtue and prayer. When we are growing this way then we can wait with courage and be stouthearted waiting for the Lord. Then, and only then, can we pray with the words of the psalm, “I believe that I shall see the good things of the Lord in the land of the living”. It is this indomitable faith that Saint Paul expects of his children among the Thessalonians. He counsels them to encourage one another and build one another up. It was the full authority of the Lord Jesus in his teaching that gave his listeners the courage to accept the arrival and wait for the fulfillment of the Kingdom of God. It is just such courage that we need in the midst of our world, so full of chaos and fear. It is for this stoutheartedness that we pray every time we come to Mass, “as we wait in joyful hope for the coming of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.”
The desire of God for our holiness and our salvation is much more intense than is our desire to grow in holiness or embrace the fullness of salvation. Still we are awaiting the fulfillment of his promise, and He will be faithful. The surprise of his arrival will be like a pregnant woman who is full of the new life she expects to deliver, soon and very soon, but she does not know exactly the time for the child to be born. Like a thief in the night so will the Lord come back when we least expect him when everyone is saying, “peace and security”. However, the thief does not overcome us because we are children of light and of the day. We are bright with glory of the day of resurrection, and the Light from Light is transforming us from glory to glory. Such is the intensity and the confidence with which we live every day of our sojourn in this world. In all honesty we do not need to know the day nor the hour simply because we are caught up in the awe and wonder of our gaze upon His face. To see the Lord face to face is all the excitement we need day in and day out. “Concerning times and seasons, brothers and sisters, you have no need for anything to be written to you.”
After his first homily and his first rejection from the hometown synagogue, the Lord Jesus begins a journey to Capernaum, a town in Galilee. As the Gospel according to Saint Luke unfolds, the Lord Jesus is well received in Galilee and it becomes the home for his mission band of brothers. However, even this positive reception is filled with astonishment because the Lord spoke with authority and not like the scribes. The Lord Jesus had an authority that was recognized even by the unclean spirits around him. A loud voice from within a possessed man confronted him in the town of Capernaum, “What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are—the Holy One of God!” Without hesitation the Lord Jesus rebuked him and told him to be silent and come out. The unclean spirit had no power to resist the voice of God in the words of Jesus. The possessed man fell over, but he was not harmed. Only the demon was harmed, rebuked, cast out. Only the unclean spirit had no staying power. He fled the presence of the Holy One of God and never came back. The crowd was not familiar with such power, the power of the Almighty here and among us, ready, willing and able to save us, from despair and evil. We are called to the same kind of ministry, Spirit Filled and Christ Commanded so that the good news of the Lord Jesus may spread everywhere in the surrounding region, so that this region of our world will become a place of holiness, compassion, and Light Divine, all lights exceeding.