daily biblical sermons

Fr. Steven Scherrer, MM, ThD
Homily of Thursday, 5th Week of the Year, February 10, 2011
Gen. 2:18-25, Ps. 127, Mark 7:24-30

"But immediately a woman, whose little daughter was possessed by an unclean spirit, heard of him, and came and fell down at his feet. Now the woman was a Greek, a Syrophoenician by birth. And she begged him to cast the demon out of her daughter" (Mark 7:25-26).

The ministry of Jesus consisted in preaching the arrival of the kingdom of God, casting out demons, and healing the sick. At first he tried to put this pagan woman off, for during his earthly life he concentrated on the Jews. But finally, seeing her humility when she said, "Yet even the dogs under the table eat the children's crumbs" (Mark 7:28), he cured her daughter from a distance without even going to her home.

This is the power of Jesus. He can free us too from the power of Satan and from the illnesses of the spirit, which depress us. At times, he even cures our bodies if we ask him, but he always cures the illnesses of our spirit, which are far more serious and disturb us much more. In this, he is truly our Savior. His power can cast out unclean spirits, which attack and depress us, if we ask him in faith. It is for this that came into the world, to save us from Satan and redeem us from his power, forgiving our sins.

Jesus Christ frees us from the depression caused by guilt when he justifies us. He makes us righteous by serving our just sentence for our sins in our place in his vicarious death on the cross. He took our part and died instead of us, so that we would not have to die. Since he paid our debt of suffering, due for our sins, he removes from us the burden of guilt that saddens, darkens, and depresses our spirits if we have faith in him. In him is true human liberation, the new humanity, redeemed, forgiven, and made righteous and holy before God. "We have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all ... For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are sanctified" (Heb. 10:10, 14). Then "When Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God" (Heb. 10:12).

This salvation, which we have in Jesus Christ, changes our life. Now we can walk in the light, as he desires us to do. "I am the light of the world; he who follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life" (John 8:12). This is how Christ wants us to live, illuminated from within by him shining in our hearts (2 Cor. 4:6). He wants us to believe in him and in the power of his sacrifice on the cross for the just forgiveness of our sins, and then to rise with him to a new life (Rom. 6:4), to walk in the light of his resurrection, as new men (Eph. 4:22-24) and a new creation. "If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation" (2 Cor. 5:17).

Christ wants us to be new creatures, walking in the light of his resurrection, risen with the risen Christ (Col. 3:1-2), to live henceforth exclusively for him with all our heart, with a radically undivided heart in our love for him and in our service to others, bringing them the good news of this salvation and new life through faith in Christ.

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