“What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth?” cries the demon inside the man in today’s gospel. I’m not sure I know what that demon is, but I know that voice and I know that phrase exactly. Unfreedom, it turns out, starts to feel familiar. My unfree habits, my well-worn ruts of egoism, pride, selfishness and many, many more get comfortable in time. Jesus’ invitation to a greater love, joy, freedom can start to feel, well, uncomfortable. I know exactly the voice that cries out “That’s okay,Jesus, this isn’t your thing! Just leave well enough alone.”
That’s the trick for me—knowing the difference between comfortable unfreedom and uncomfortable faith, hope, and love—the difference between putting Jesus off and learning to listen to Jesus tell that voice inside of me to “Be quiet!” Then I follow his voice to greater joy.
—Matthew Spotts, S.J. is a Jesuit scholastic teaching history and religion at Brebeuf Jesuit Preparatory School, Indianapolis IN.