Yesterday we began a look at “Characteristics of the Kingdom and Its Demands.” Saint Luke is an especially worthy guide for issues of evangelization and the Kingdom if we pay close attention to his Gospel.
Pope John Paul notes two qualities of the Lord’s public ministry. Would you agree with their close association?
The liberation and salvation brought by the kingdom of God come to the human person both in his physical and spiritual dimensions. Two gestures are characteristic of Jesus’ mission: healing and forgiving.
The Reign of God is rooted in Jesus’ willingness to accompany us in our need. The third Gospel gives testimony:
Jesus’ many healings clearly show his great compassion in the face of human distress, but they also signify that in the kingdom there will no longer be sickness or suffering, and that his mission, from the very beginning, is meant to free people from these evils. In Jesus’ eyes, healings are also a sign of spiritual salvation, namely liberation from sin. By performing acts of healing, he invites people to faith, conversion and the desire for forgiveness (cf. Lk 5:24). Once there is faith, healing is an encouragement to go further: it leads to salvation (cf. Lk 18:42-43).
It can be easy to see “demonic possession” and be swayed by contemporary avoidance or voyeurism on the matter. I think there is much evil afoot in the world today. People in power seem especially vulnerable to getting drawn into unspeakably sinful acts. And too many people casually abuse others not-in-power. When these are resisted and victims healed, it is a sign of the Reign of God:
The acts of liberation from demonic possession-the supreme evil and symbol of sin and rebellion against God-are signs that indeed “the kingdom of God has come upon you” (Mt 12:28).
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