Army of Heaven
A reading from the holy Gospel according to Luke [13:10-12]
Jesus was teaching in a synagogue on the Sabbath. And a woman was there who for eighteen years had been crippled by a spirit; she was bent over, completely incapable of standing erect. When Jesus saw her, he called to her and said, "Woman, you are set free of your infirmity." He laid his hands on her, and she at once stood up straight and glorified God.
This reading was illuminated by Fr. Anthony Mary of the Franciscan Friars of the Eternal Word in a homily given at daily Mass. The afflicted woman is a symbol of the devastating effects of sin and unclean spirit possession.
That she was afflicted for so long, is a familiar experience to lust addicts whose sexual faculty has been deformed from earliest days of growing, coming of age in the lust culture of the 20th century.
Her condition speaks of what becomes of sinners under the burden of unclean life. She is bent over as if her neck was manacled to her feet. There is no image of humanity or dignity, but of a deformed creature, encumbered. Such a creature can only look down, fixating almost forcedly only upon the earthly.
Addiction is exactly thus,it is sin gone on for so long that there is the illusion of the absolute requirement of the intoxicant in order to survive or continue to be. Addiction seems a choiceless sin.
Lust cripples its victims. Enslaved to it, life is desperate and joyless. There is only grimness and perhaps a grief that even then cannot be reached. It is hellish, impossible and deadly. But the woman was found in a place of worship, in her state. Does the lust addict see infirmity in his very own mind and limbs? Can the lust addict find himself in a catholic church? Is the lust addict, with every fruitless remedy exhausted, ready for the promise of Christ the healer by dint of nothing more than pure faith?
When Jesus, who cannot fail to see us in the sanctuary, applies his celestial touch through his Word and through the sacramental powers, are we prepared to stand up at once and rejoice in God, glorifying Him who at last has found us?
This daughter of Abraham who Satan has bound for eighteen years now, ought she not to have been set free on the Sabbath day from this bondage? [Luke 13:16]
Has the lust addict awakened to the reality of the Evil One who has led this disfigurement?Or is the addict still in the darkness that says with worldly, fearful doubt "there is no Devil".
Are we ready for the incontrovertible knowledge that man can be reduced to a sickly thing lower than animals at the hands of a supernatural power that only a Savior can overcome?
Whether it is five years, eighteen or thirty, Jesus' invincible power of transforming love waits only for us to come, into the courts of God.
Holy God, Heart of Jesus, call us and make us hear You, help us to believe with faith that You are all we need, You are freedom and new life. Amen.