After they had gone away, a demoniac who was mute was brought to him. And when the demon had been cast out, the one who had been mute spoke; and the crowds were amazed and said, “Never has anything like this been seen in Israel.” But the Pharisees said, “By the ruler of the demons he casts out the demons.”
Then Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, and proclaiming the good news of the kingdom, and curing every disease and every sickness. When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore ask the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.”
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved. http://www.usccb.org/bible/approved-translations
The Gospel reading shows the tension in Jesus’ life between his public image (“The Pharisees said, ‘He drives out demons by the prince of demons.’”), and following through with what He believed he ought to do.
At its best, a good reputation is a platform that can be used to reach out to wider audiences, i.e. Pope Francis’ apparent celebrity status. Over time, the problem with an attachment on the opinions of others is that we begin to aim for fame in our actions. Instead of listening to the quiet voice of God in our hearts, we can gradually substitute the imagined comments of our peers, co-workers, and our family members as the compass needle in our discernment.
Jesus focuses not on the elite, but fixes his gaze on the poor, the masses, those who needed healing in the towns and villages. We must cultivate relationships where we receive feedback from others based on the values of the Gospel and the Kingdom. We demonstrate our humanity when we lose sight of our goal, but God never tires in trying to keep our attention on His mission.
Are their certain people’s opinions that govern my life? Where is God inviting me to rest and rely on his love, and thus freeing me for greater service? On what do I feel called to fix my gaze like Christ?
—Dano Kennedy, S.J. is a Jesuit scholastic studying philosophy at St. Louis University. He lives at the Bellarmine House of Studies.
Love consists in sharing what one has and what one is with those one loves. Love ought to show itself in deeds more than in words.
—St. Ignatius LoyolaPlease share the Good Word with your friends!