Wednesday of the Thirteenth Week in Ordinary Time

In today’s Gospel, Jesus came to the territory of the Gadarenes.  The road was generally considered impassable because of two savage demoniacs there.  They saw Jesus and “cried out, ‘What have you to do with us, Son of God?’”

Why do two savage demoniacs recognize Jesus, but so many of the Jews fail to do the same?  Why do other demons also recognize Jesus, but so many in our world fail to do the same?

C.S. Lewis wrote a famous work called “The Screwtape Letters” that consisted of a series of fictional letters from a senior demon named Screwtape to his nephew Wormwood.  The uncle is helping the nephew in his assignment to ensure the damnation of a British man known only as The Patient.

At one point, Screwtape writes knowingly of this problem of men and women failing to recognize God when he says, “The humans do not start from that direct perception of Him which we, unhappily, cannot avoid. They have never known that ghastly luminosity, that stabbing and searing glare which makes the background of permanent pain to our lives.”

In this life, we are given the ability to make choices.  It is possible for us to live a life that fails to recognize God.  God is present.  It is just that we can be so inwardly focused that we fail to see God and his work in our world.  We can refuse to enter any sort of prayer relationship with God.  We can reject the Church that Jesus founded.  We can completely deny God.  If we do that, we will be in for a serious surprise when we enter the next life.  But such a denial and such a life oblivious to God is possible while in this life.

And yet, we are made for God.  We have a hole in our heart that can only be filled by God.  We can strive to fill this hole and to seek fulfillment with any number of things of this world.  But, if we get some of these worldly things, we only want more.  They never satisfy.  And it is hard to overlook the famous quote of Saint Augustine to God on the first page of Confessions: “You stir man to take pleasure in praising you because you have made us for yourself, and our heart is restless until it rests in you.”  It is only in God that human beings can find true peace and fulfillment.

If we must be willing to recognize and to encounter God, how have we done so in our lives?  How can we help others to do the same?  Do we demonstrate that recognition in our own lives to others?