A question: what is there that we can make of a connection between the two readings for today's liturgy? The 11th chapter of Hebrews relates the faith of inspiring models of the Old Testament for those who have been challenged by the "scandal of the cross." The author bridges the gap between the Old Testament "greats" and the faith that has been given the people of the world through the death and resurrection of Jesus. The scene in the gospel we have read or heard read many times. But a question springs to mind from this exorcism event: what is there in the story of someone possessed by an evil spirit or two for the 21st century man or woman?
Let's look at the reality of the experience of the Sacrament of Reconciliation. That the frequency of the reception of forgiving graces from this sacrament has greatly diminished is no secret. Nor is it unknown to most of our brethren in other faiths.
One consequence of a reduced or eliminated openness to this particular sacrament is that there is within the collective Catholic conscience a general malaise, a genuine spiritual unhappiness. Why? There are those "secret sins" men and women try to bury in forgetfulness, to avoid in shunning a good confession. Stayiang away from this sacrament is one way of attempting to forget the guilt one might be carrying because of a specific serious sin or two or way of life. Over time despite the effort at avoidance there can develop something akin to possession as we saw in the gospel. It is like the difficult individuals have in admitting an embarrassing faux pas or a major insult or hurt to another person or God himself. The longer the human being tries to hide or ignore what might be a painful admission of human failure, the more the effort to bury the sin, the more one's life becomes shaped by the failure to admit one's sins, one's failures. What then happens is that the evil spirit will truly begin to torment that person's life and it will not disappear until the reality is confronted. Why would anyone be afraid to seek the forgives of sin from Jesus Christ through the sacrament? Why turn away from all the goodness the Lord Jesus has done for each of us? Is all of the inner unrest worth its eating away at a person's happiness?
Tomorrow there will not be a posting. It is a travel day for the postman! Hopefully there will be a computer available at the "terminus ad quem."