Friday of the Twenty-seventh Week in Ordinary Time

The last day of Kairos is never supposed to end.  That’s why we talk about living the fourth.  Jesus rose on the third day, and the fourth day was the first of the Resurrection.  Your fourth day is the day (and every day) that you choose to live your resurrected life.  One of the challenges surrounding this – one that you have already experienced and will inevitably continue to experience throughout your life – are the voices that will tell you that it isn’t real.  For over two-thousand years, human beings from all over the world have been living resurrected lives through Jesus Christ.  There have been naysayers, but nothing has stopped the ocean of grace and mercy flowing from the heart of our God – the pierced heart of Jesus crucified.  A great skill to take with you from this Kairos experience is the testing of spirits.

Saint John writes in his first letter: “Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.”  There are different ways to interpret this passage, but I think that one very important interpretation has to do with the voices that we hear.  We hear the voices of our parents, our teachers, our priests and church leaders – we also hear the voices of the media, the news, politicians, and governments.  Everyone uses rhetoric to make their message appealing or to make it seem true.  The spirits must be tested, the voices must be tested to see whether they are from God.  While it is true that we must do this for the external voices we hear, it is even more imperative that we do it for the inner voices that we hear.

In today’s Gospel, it says that some of the crowd claimed the Jesus was casting out demons by Satan.  In other words, Jesus power and influence came from the prince of evil.  Jesus simply challenges them and says, “If I cast out demons by the devil himself, then by whose power do your own people cast them out?”  We must test the spirits that we encounter before we conclude whether they are good or bad.

The first inner voice we might be familiar with is our own.  We hear our own thoughts, ideas, and opinions.  But sometimes there are other voices that we hear that may even become indistinguishable from our own.  We may hear the things our parents have told us, or the things that other people have said.  It may even be that what we think about ourselves is largely based on what other people have said.

Another inner voice that we must come to recognize is the voice of the tempter.  This voice usually sounds like our own voice, but it suggests that we do things, say things, or think things, that aren’t right.  The temptor is not actually our own voice, it is not guiding us into freedom and happiness, but as long as it stays disguised we may not be able to recognize who it truly is.  When we test the spirits, we must ask ourselves, “Is this what I really think?  Is this what I truly want?”  When we unmask the tempter, he loses his power, and with God’s help we can become free from the temptation.

The most important inner voice that we must come to recognize is the voice of the Holy Spirit.  In order to recognize this voice, we must spend some time every day with the Sacred Scriptures, with the Bible.  When we read and listen to the Word of God with faith, we become much more familiar with the voice of God, the Holy Spirit.  This familiarity allows us to recognize the other secret ways that He speaks to us throughout the day.

As you go forth to live the fourth, test the spirits, especially the inner voices that shape how you perceive and respond to the world in which God created you.

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