THEME: HOW MUCH DO YOU KNOW GOD BY: Fr. Benny Tuazon
In the day’s Gospel, the Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time two things are revealed about Jesus and the unclean spirit which represent evil. The first is that evil knows who Jesus is. Second, evil is afraid of the Lord Jesus.
Knowing the Lord is not enough. Even evil knows the Lord. In fact, evil knows the Lord better than most of us. Evil’s knowledge of the Lord is based on experience. How many of us had experienced the Lord? Only when we have truly experience the Lord could we really know Him. So, what differs us from evil? Our knowledge is for the purpose of loving and serving Him. In other words, we have faith in the Lord. For evil, it is just because it recognised the Lord as an adversary. Evil is wise in the sense that it knows it’s enemy in order to have an advantage. However, evil is no match no matter what it does. In any case, evil recognises the Lord.
Our knowledge leads to faith and is for the purpose of faith. Knowledge should not be only “knowing about” but also knowing by experiencing. Have you met the Lord? The pope’s visit can illustrate this. Before the pope came, we know a lot “about” him. But when he came, when we saw him, heard him, and even met and felt him, we knew him much much better. Now, we can truly say that we know him because we have met him. Same with the Lord Jesus, He may not be appearing physically like the pope, but we can meet Him in the Eucharist, other people, nature, events, and in all Creation. Seize that moment. Experience the Lord. Then, believe in Him. Have faith in Him. Believe that He can fulfill what he promised and His words are perfects guides to our journey towards holiness and belonging in His Kingdom.
Second, the unclean spirit feared the Lord. It is a recognition of Jesus’ authority. It is a resignation to Jesus’ divinity. Thus, when Jesus gave the unclean spirit, it did not have a choice but to follow. (Mabuti pa yata ang masamang espiritu, marunong sumunod!”) Evil knows that it cannot do anything against Jesus and its destruction will be inevitable. We also fear the Lord in this sense. We are afraid of God’s punishment for doing wrong. Sinning against the Lord has dire consequences. But there is another fear which is more spiritually healthy and what can differ us from evil. Let us fear that we will be separated from the Lord. That is what is meant by that praise in the prayer, Act of Contrition, when we say, “I dread the loss of heaven and the pains of hell.” We see the consequences of our sin as not only experiencing the pains of heal, but also, the loss of heave. We fear being separated from God. Our separation from Him leads us to nothingness. Our life is with the Lord.
This is a similar experience when we try not to hurt our love ones because we are afraid it will lead to our separation from them. While evil fears the wrath of God, we fear more by losing Him.
Be different from evil. Know the Lord by experiencing Him so we can love and serve Him. Fear the Lord not only because of punishment but because we cannot endure being separated from Him