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Tuesday in the First Week of Ordinary Time

Scriptural Readings: 1 Samuel 1:9-20; 1 Samuel 2:1, 4-5, 6-7, 8; Mark 1:21-28

My dear encountered couples:

Have you ever wanted to do something that deep down you knew was wrong? I’m speaking, of course, in regard to doing something wrong in the sinful sense.

An idea comes into your mind, a temptation very appealing knocks at your door. You know you should ignore it, you know you should reach to Christ for help. But no, not this time, you want it to break down your resistance. So instead of looking to heaven for help, you concentrate your thoughts on the temptation. You ignore any proddings of your conscience and resist any and all graces. You become like a little child looking at the cookie jar concentrating on the beckoning cookies and blocking out all thoughts of mom shaking her finger. Today’s gospel hit me in that way.

There was a man with an unclean spirit which knew it had no business being in the man. I feel sure it preferred not to be noticed by Jesus, but too late, he saw it. And so it shrieked, “What do you want of us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are — the holy One of God!”

“If only I could hide somewhere,” that spirit probably thought, “then I could do what I want to do in this man.” But now the evil was exposed, the jig was up, Jesus zapped it with his grace. “Be quiet!” he ordered. “Come out of the man!” What else could it do?

All temptations towards evil will leave us if we would only let Jesus deal with them. But as long as we ignore him, as long as we try to hide the temptation from him, we will sin and harm ourselves. Do you ever find yourself frustrating God’s grace?

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