Jesus Gives Authority

By: 
Spiritual Director Pat Vine

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2 Kings 5:1-14 – Psalm 30 – Galatians 6:(1-6) 7-16 – Luke 10:1-11, 16-20

Homily for Liturgy of the Word, July 3, 2022 (Pat Vine)

          May the words of my mouth and the meditation of our hearts be acceptable in your sight, our Lord our Strength and our Redeemer. 

          In today’s gospel, when Jesus sends out 70 disciples to bring the Kingdom of God nearer to the people, He tells them that He has given them authority over all the power of the enemy and that nothing will harm them.  After they have gone out to the people, they come back to him rejoicing, telling Jesus “Lord, in your name, even the demons submit to us!”  The authority over the power of the enemy that Jesus gives to his disciples, to you and to me, is real and true and when this authority is used in a life-giving way, enables His followers to bring the Kingdom of God nearer to the people.

          And in today’s reading from Galatians, we learn that if we find anyone detected in a transgression, we who have received the Spirit should restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness.

          When I was a young believer, my neighbor came to my door carrying her baby.  She was in her nightgown, looking full of fear.  She told me that she had asked Jesus to come into her heart through the spirit of her dead father and that Jesus revealed to her that she was chosen, along with her baby, to save our town and eventually the world—that she was the Virgin Mary and her baby was Jesus.

          I was dumbfounded at her words and immediately turned within to Jesus for His wisdom and knowledge.  Having familiarized myself with the Scriptures, I knew Jesus’ second coming would not be as a baby.  I witnessed a very unusual manifestation when my neighbor showed me her extended arm and I saw a lump under her skin, rolling back and forth, up and down her arm.  I then knew that something was very wrong and I had to find out what it was.

          I began to entreat the Lord as to how I could help my neighbor.  I found out her husband was desperate as their house was in terrible disarray, very unlike her usual care of their home.

          As I prayed to the Lord, I was led to several scriptures, most prominently in Deuteronomy that forbad calling on the spirits of the dead.  I asked my neighbor if she was open to my telling her what I learned from the Scriptures and she told me she was open.

          I came to her house and shared that the way she asked Jesus into her heart through the spirit of her dead father was not God’s way.  I also asked if she would be willing to reverse what she had done.  She replied with an emphatic “Yes.”

          Then she verbally renounced what she had previously done.  And with the authority given to me by Jesus, I prayed over her that the Spirit who entered her at her request would be gone in Jesus’ name, and that Jesus, along with God’s Holy Spirit, would come into her to fill the place in her that was vacated.  My neighbor sighed and went limp as she held her baby who was now asleep.   We had witnessed and experienced the truth of God’s word.

          Afterwards, her life began to return to normal for which her husband was very grateful.

          I share this event with you so that you will know without a doubt that the authority that Jesus gives you and me is powerful, real and ever present.  As a young believer, I experienced using this authority to command the enemy to leave my neighbor, inviting Jesus and God’s Holy Spirit to reside in its place.

          Was I scared and anxious to do this?  Absolutely!  But the unconditional love and freedom I had experienced from God spurred me on to ask my neighbor if she was willing for me to tell her what I learned and to pray over her.  Both God’s and my desires were to set her free.

          My question to you today is “What will you do with the authority God has given you over all the power of the enemy?”

          You may or may not be called to do something similar to what God led me to do with my neighbor, but God may call on you in your everyday encounters to recognize the enemy’s activities and to pray that they be gone or cease in Jesus’ powerful name.  I encourage you to be on the lookout for ways to use the authority God has given you to bring the Kingdom of God near, as the disciples did when Jesus sent them out.  Amen.

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