He went down to Capernaum, a city in Galilee, and was teaching them on the sabbath. They were astounded at his teaching, because he spoke with authority. In the synagogue there was a man who had the spirit of an unclean demon, and he cried out with a loud voice, “Let us alone! What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are, the Holy One of God.”
But Jesus rebuked him, saying, “Be silent, and come out of him!” When the demon had thrown him down before them, he came out of him without having done him any harm. They were all amazed and kept saying to one another, “What kind of utterance is this? For with authority and power he commands the unclean spirits, and out they come!” And a report about him began to reach every place in the region.
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.
The Gospel today manifests the power of Jesus’ words, so effective that without even touching a person he was made wholly human again, no longer divided by the demon within him. Words are powerful forces in the world around us. While love manifests itself more in deeds than words, how and when we choose to be silent or speak can also be powerful. Words can cause healing or pain, division and reconciliation.
Over the summer, I worked with the Kino Border Initiative in Nogales, Sonora. While providing for the physical needs of migrants who had been in the desert was an appreciated service, what was even more amazing was the power of speaking to one another. Listening and recognizing the humanity of the migrants who came in and out of the comedor had a profoundly positive effect on those who had been treated as less-than-human in their journey. As his followers, Jesus asks us to use our words and actions to help him bring wholeness to others.
—Mike Tedone, SJ, is a Jesuit Scholastic of the West Province in First Studies at Loyola University Chicago.
Lord Jesus, help us by your grace,
We praise you and give you thanks for the family you have called together from so many people. We see in this human family a reflection of the divine unity of the one Most Holy Trinity in whom we make our prayer: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.
—Excerpt of the Prayer for Migrants and Refugees taken from USCCB website.