TORMENTED BY DEMONS

The homily is based on Matthew 15:21-28.

In today’s Gospel story, Jesus meets a mother who begs him for help. Her daughter, she says, is tormented by demons. The mother is desperate, so desperate, in fact, that she herself torments the Lord’s disciples, who eventually goes to Jesus to ask him to send the woman away “for she keeps calling out after us.”

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I’ve encountered this story so often before, but reading it this time, I am struck by the mother’s pleas for her daughter. I can’t help but be reminded of the desperation of another mother, Lorenza delos Santos, an overseas Filipino worker who begged her employer in the Middle East to allow her to come home because her 17-year old son, Kian, had been killed by policemen during an anti-illegal drug operation in Caloocan City.

According to police reports, Kian Lloyd delos Santos, upon noticing the cops, drew his firearm and shot at the police, prompting them to fire back and killing the student. Two sachets of suspected shabu and a .45 caliber gun were allegedly in the minor’s possession.

Disturbingly, however, the CCTV footage suggests a different story: Kian was shown being dragged by two policemen to the spot where he was killed. Even more disturbingly, a visibly distraught eyewitness recounted how the cops had beaten up Kian and how the boy was overheard saying what has got to be the most heartbreaking of words: “Tama na po! May test pa ako bukas” (“Please stop! I still have a test tomorrow”). He was then handed a gun and told to run for his life: “Ito ang baril. Iputok mo tapos tumakbo ka” (Take this gun, fire it and run).

His family and friends insist that Kian could not have been involved in illegal drugs. They swear that he was a “good, sweet boy” who never gave his father any problem.

His grieving mother says: “Napakabuti po kasi niya eh… Hindi po masama ang anak ko. Ang dami naman pong taong nagmamahal sa anak ko eh, hindi po siya yun,” she said. “Napakainosente po ng anak ko eh. Mahal na mahal ko yung anak ko. Diyos ko naman” (He was so good. My son is not bad. So many people love him; he’s not what they say. He is so innocent. I love my son so much. My God”).

The policemen, on the other hand, claim that he was a drug runner who tried to shoot them.

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Beyond the question of any involvement in illegal drugs, no one–and certainly not a Grade 11 student–should have his life ended so abruptly and so inhumanly.  Unlike the Canaanite woman in the Gospel, it is too late for Lorenza to beg for the Lord’s help for her child. But she continues to speak to the media even if her voice has gone hoarse.

“My voice has run out,” she tells reporters. “I want to shout. I want to shout for justice for my son.”

The death of her son should question us and enrage us. We must bring her desperation–and ours–to the Lord and plead with him the way Canaanite woman does in today’s Gospel reading, calling out to him: “Our children are tormented by demons! Help us!”

And what has the Lord to say? A good friend, Laine Laudico, posted some lines on Facebook, lines from Warsan Shire’s poem, “what they did yesterday afternoon.”  These words, I imagine, probably come close:

later that night
i held an atlas in my lap
and ran my fingers across the whole world
and whispered
where does it hurt?

it answered
everywhere
everywhere
everywhere.

Resist evil. Protect the weak.

—————-
At 8:24 tonight, please pause in silence for one minute and join the nation in praying for Kian and all the victims of violence and EJKs. #justiceforkian

 

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12 thoughts on “TORMENTED BY DEMONS”

  1. Fr. Johnny
    Beautiful reflection that shows a shepherd’s heart. One that is open. Keep up the good work.

    A brief word on demons since I felt particularly drawn to the line of the Gospel also. Jesus and the early church and apostles clearly had no problem naming the reality. Demons of a spiritual sort lie behind much evil – their interference and lies invite man to buy into all kinds of false goods.

  2. My prayers to Lorenza, mother of Kian. As a mother, I know how you feel and I will include you in my prayers that God will give you strength and may our Almighty God and Mother Mary help you to find justice for what they have done to your loving son , Kian.
    I will also pray for your son, Kian, that his soul to rest in peace And find an everlasting happiness with our Lord Jesus Christ.

  3. May God’s loving power spread its embrace over our nation so that each and every Filipino may realize that the love of God is founded on mercy & not on punishment, on compassion instead of judgment, and on unity instead of division.

  4. i NEVER like priests using the pulpit as a tool to preach the people about politics much more blame people in the government for our miseries but this one i agree 100%. our motherland has been tormented by demons. may GOD bless the Philipoines!!!

  5. We cry and pray for justice with Kian’s parents.
    He is a martyr of our neglect. How many more innocents
    will die because of our indifference. God forgive us.

    Mercy

  6. May the healing light of strength shine upon Kian’s suffering mother & family. These killings are awfully morbid & inhumane. I believe Kian’s a very good young adult cutoff so soon with the life ahead of him so very unjustly.

    I’m praying for his soul to Rest In Peace and for all the killings to stop & continuously pray for the Holy Spirit to work on the current leaders of our country to be enlightened to STOP all these insanity. Very sad & my heart goes to all victims – this is a very deep sorrowful incident. A helpless young kid! 😖😞🙏

  7. Is anybody safe in the Philippines anymore? When will all the sensible people wake up and fight for the lives of the innocent? Silence…nobody dares, they are so scared. “I’m not concerned” most people say. I’ll just turn a blind eye and let these called “peace keepers” do all the killing. We are back to the days when that smart tyrant had been ordering all the killing of all rebels in his time . We thought we got rid of one but he had resurfaced in another form. O, Lord, if you care for your people, we pray and will keep praying even if you are not listening. We are a Nation of prayers only, anyway. Yes! We need to pray harder…Does it really help? Sorry God if we start to doubt.

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