2 Samuel 15:13-14, 30; 16:5-13
Throughout the gospels we see an ongoing battle between Jesus and the forces of evil. Today’s gospel story is rather dramatic. A legion of unclean spirits is sent into a herd of swine which then rush down a bluff into a lake and die. Jesus triumphs.
I am reminded of a quote from Martin Luther King, Jr. He stated, "Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only Light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that. Jesus was the living presence of love on this earth. He could drive out hate. His Resurrection was the ultimate triumph of love over evil.
King went on to say, "Hate multiplies hate, violence multiplies violence, toughness multiplies toughness in a descending spiral of destruction." King was well aware of Jesus’ words, "All who take the sword will perish by the sword. (Matthew 26:52)
When will we humans ever learn that lesson? Billions are spent every day on weapons, while nickels and dimes are spent on strategies for peace. Our country spends more than $25,000.00 a second on "defense" while thousands die of hunger around the world
Only love can end war. If we had enough love, we would budget money, personnel, time and energy to feed the hungry, secure clean water, provide sanitation, teach the illiterate, cure diseases, and do all the things that turn enemies into friends. Peace is possible if we put aside the profit motive and choose justice for all as our identity.
The gospel battles between good and evil continue to be waged in the hearts of human beings. Meditating on the words and actions of Jesus is the way to strengthen our wills for the test. Uniting with him in love guides our hearts into peace.
Fr. Alan Phillip, C.P. is a member of the Passionist Community at Mater Dolorosa Retreat Center, Sierra Madre, California. http://www.alanphillipcp.com/