For This Purpose, I Have Come
We are still meditating on the powerful event that took place in the synagogue, where Jesus confronted a man possessed by an unclean spirit and how he banished it and set the man free. This encounter caused a great sensation. No one had ever spoken with such authority, vigor, and power over unclean spirits. The whole community could not stop talking about Jesus. The next day, Jesus arrived at the home of Simon and Andrew but was besieged by crowds who expected more of what they had witnessed.
He did not disappoint them; he healed Peter’s mother-in-law and many others in the crowd. Beyond this healing lies a good symbol for our meditation. Their illness is a symbol of all mankind in the eyes of God. How often have we found ourselves sick and discouraged due to the ups and downs of life? Sometimes, we think that God has abandoned us. We feel his distance and yet, God is closest to us in our sickness and suffering. Jesus helps us to understand that now.
Job beautifully expressed the complaints and hopelessness one feels when deprived of God’s delight and favor. His spirit was deeply disheartened because, in his sufferings, he could not understand God’s plan. The story of Job is that of a just and innocent man, plagued by unexplained misfortune as a test from God, who, at the end of his trials, had his fortune restored.
There are times when we, too, are besieged with many troubles. There are times when loneliness, sickness, death, hardship, violence, unemployment, and family discord leave us with no meaningful explanations. Jesus steps in to help us restore our fortunes. His power and love move him to do good for us. He demonstrates convincingly that he can do so for any person who calls on him. Job’s faith in God helped him to overcome his trials; our faith in Jesus is the key to our happiness. He brings consolation and hope in the face of human misery. When persuaded, he said, “Let us go on to the nearby villages that I may preach there also, for this purpose have I come.” That was his mission.
Jesus teaches us to pray. Prayer unites him with God, and prayer unites us with Jesus. It is like oxygen—it is necessary for our survival. Prayer opens the door of grace, mercy, and love to enter. “Rising very early before dawn, Jesus left and went off to a deserted place, where he prayed.” He responded to illness and discouragement through his healing spirit, and we are called to respond to the needs of people in our world today.
With this newfound hope and power, we ought to share that with others. Jesus’ words and actions have shown that the reign of God is here and now. We must believe in and take hold of the kingdom. Like Saint Paul, we are obliged to preach the Good News. This weekend, I recommend that we pray and offer the graces of our Holy Communion for those who struggle with chronic depression, loneliness, suicidal thoughts or deep feelings of abandonment. That God’s mercy will come upon them and ease their pains and grant them healing of body and mind.
Sincerely Yours In The Lord,
Rev. Vitalis Anyanike