Monday, March 02, 2009

The Disciples Want to Call Down Fire from Heaven

This morning's (Monday) mass had as its appointed Gospel the reading from St. Luke 9 in which Jesus tells his disciples not to forbid a man for casting out demons in his name ("He who is not against us is for us") and rebukes them for wanting to condemn the Samaritans who did not receive him ("because his face was set to go to Jerusalem").

I forgot to turn on the PA system today, so no recording. Oops.

The sermon, briefly, explained that neither the man who was independently casting out demons nor the Samaritans had it right. The independent exorcist was wrong, even as those who were not Levites who attempted to offer sacrifices were wrong, and the Samaritans were wrong for rejecting Jesus.

But the disciples misunderstood him because they had yet to grasp the truth that his coming was divided in two, which no one expected. Divided in two: once in mercy, and the second time in judgment.

And this fact is wonderful, for had he not divided his coming in two, no one could be saved. Not only the independent exorcist and the Samaritans, but we ourselves are beneficiaries of the lovingkindness of Jesus in coming first in mercy. And so merciful is he that he absorbs the divine wrath of which the Scriptures so frequently speak, and of which the disciples were so acutely aware. He absorbs it, and the very means by which he absorbed it, his crucified body and the blood he shed, are given to you here from the altar, against the day of judgment which is to come.


Peter said...

Actually, the independent exorcist is, by Jesus' own definition "with us," so apparently he didn't have it wrong. I find it amusing that the disciples, at times were unable to cast out demons, while others, unassociated with the 12, WERE able. In this case, if I had a demon-possessed son, I wouldn't look a gift horse in the mouth. If the guy could help, I'd go to him. This pericope is helpful, I think, because it helps us understand another aspect of church. That is, we find the church where our Lord is working. Evidently, in this man, our Lord was in fact working.

Rev.Fr.Burnell F Eckardt said...

Good point.

I guess one could say that the independent exorcist might have been better advised to go "with them," whatever that might have meant.

But you're right: Jesus' correction makes it clear that, in spite of whatever we might say (with the disciples) against the preferred way of doing things, he was not to be rebuked.

Peter said...

I appreciate what you say. Because we meet these people all the time. They don't know what we know, nor are they even aware of our concerns, and yet they seem to be doing the work of our Lord. These folks are to be treated gently,and with appreciation.