The words of Jesus bring us hope. Some people will vehemently claim that they do not need organized religion because they know God in their heart or they find God in nature, and that is enough. These claims are rooted in the truth, but only partly. God has planted a yearning for him in the human heart, and God’s might and power are evident in the magnificence of creation. However, there is a higher order of revelation we must not ignore. This is God’s revelation of himself that comes to us through the words of the prophets, and then, most fully, through his Son, Jesus.
Why should anyone be content with just a whisper from God within oneself, or a shadow of God in nature? Jesus was real, he walked among the people. He extended his hand in healing time and time again, ate with his friends and sometimes with his enemies, and welcomed sinners and strangers into his company. Jesus brought hope to those who were living in sin and relief to those suffering dreadful afflictions. Simple words from Jesus bring about powerful results, such as those we heard today, Quiet! Come out of him!
The words of Jesus brought healing and forgiveness, and they also brought comfort and direction in times of uncertainty. He said, Follow me, I will make you fishers of men; Be not afraid; I will be with you always; Today you will be with me in paradise. Such powerful words – no one had ever spoken in this manner before. The absolute authority with which Jesus spoke moved many people to follow him and listen closely to his teachings.
To listen closely to the teachings of Jesus is every Catholic’s responsibility today. It is easy to hear the Scriptures proclaimed each time we attend Mass, but it can be more difficult to listen with a receptive ear and a willing heart, and harder, still, to put those lessons into practice.
The words of Peter from Saint John’s Gospel express it well; Master, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We are to listen, believe and live accordingly. This is our task, and the Spirit of God alive in us will help us accomplish it.