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DO WE BELIEVE IN THE POWER OF JESUS TO HELP US?

Father Francis's picture
Thirtieth Week in Ordinary Time

Rom. 8:12-17 & Lk. 13:10-17

Life lived according to the spirit, or the flesh, is what Saint Paul talks about in today’s first reading. A life lived according to the spirit means a life lived under the influence of the Spirit. Then we truly become the children of God and are able to call God our Father, Abba, and become heirs to His kingdom.

But a live lived according to the flesh means a life governed by our human weakness or under the domination of human and worldly values. Pride, arrogance, self-righteousness, avarice and aggressive abuse of others are the most obvious characteristics. Paul is certainly not implying that the body or flesh is evil. A human person created by God is good, in fact very good. Genesis tells us that (Gen. 1:31).

The fact that Jesus wanted to cure so many who were bodily ill itself illustrates God’s respect for the body. The body deserves as much or more respect from Christian than it gets in a fitness centre. For us it works hand in hand with our spirit to honour God and serve others.

Is there anything that keeps us bound up or oppressed? Infirmity, whether physical, emotional, or spiritual, can befall us for a variety of reasons and God can use it for some purpose that we do not understand. When Jesus encountered an elderly woman who was spent of her strength and unable to stand upright, in today's Gospel, He gave her words of faith and freedom and He restored her to health.

She must have suffered much, both physically and spiritually for 18 years, since Jesus remarked that Satan had bound her. How can Satan do this? The scriptures indicate that Satan can act in the world with malice, causing injuries of a spiritual nature and indirectly even of a physical nature. Satan's power, however, is not infinite. He cannot prevent the building up of God's kingdom or reign in our lives. Jesus demonstrates the power and authority of God's kingdom in releasing people who are oppressed by physical and emotional sickness, by personal weakness and sin, and by the harassment of the Evil One in their lives. It took only one word from Jesus to release this woman instantly of her infirmity.

Do we believe in the power of Jesus to release us from affliction and oppression? The Jewish leaders were indignant that Jesus would perform such a miraculous work on the Sabbath, the holy day of rest. They were so caught up in their ritual observance of the Sabbath that they lost sight of God's mercy and goodness. Jesus healed on the Sabbath because God does not rest from showing His mercy and love, ever. God's word has power to change us - spiritually, physically, and emotionally. Is there anything that keeps us bound up or that weighs us down? Then let us ask the Lord to speak His word to us and give us freedom.

Lord Jesus, no matter how we suffer, spiritually or physically, may we never fail to turn to You for all the help we need, for You are our divine Physician.

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