Thoughts To Live By…

Mk 1:21-28 – Sunday Gospel Reflection

Posted on: January 31, 2009

Mk 1:21-28 – The Cure of the Demoniac
4th Sunday in Ordinary Time
February 1, 2009

If one admits the existence of the devil, one must also admit the possibility of diabolical activity in our world. Diabolical possession is a tangible proof of the existence of the devil and a visible manifestation of his power.

This is not something in the realm of possibility; it is a fact. There are seven incidents in the Gospel that deal with diabolical possession. Three of them are passing references to exorcisms (Mt 8:32-33, 12:22; Mk 16:9; Lk 8:2). The remaining four are described in greater detail: the demoniac of Capernaum (Mk 1:21-28; Lk 4:31-37); the demoniacs of Gadara (Mt 8:28-34; Mk 5:1-20; Lk 8:26-29); the daughter of the Canaanite woman (Mt 15:21-28; Mk 7:24-30); and the epileptic demoniac (Mt 17:14-20; Mk 9:13-28; Lk 9:37-43).

In the time of Christ, there was a great deal of diabolical infestation, perhaps more than at any other time in history; conversely, there were numerous charismatic gifts at the beginning of Christian evangelization.

Diabolical activity can be divided into two types: ordinary and extraordinary. Ordinary diabolical activity occurs when the devil incites a person to sin. Extraordinary diabolical activity is divided into three types: local infestation, diabolical obsession, and diabolical possession.

Local infestation occurs when the devil has direct and immediate contact with inanimate objects, plants, or animals in order to exert an evil influence or even physical harm on persons.

Diabolical obsession (also called personal infestation) occurs when the devil focuses his power and activity on an individual human being. He operates from the outside, on the external or internal sense faculties, but he can never gain control of the intellect and will of the individual.

Diabolical possession occurs when the devil invades the body of a person and exercises despotic dominion over the organs and faculties of the individual, manipulating them as one would a puppet. His dominion, however, is restricted to the body; he cannot invade the soul or gain control over the spiritual faculties of intellect and will. Two factors are involved in diabolical possession: the presence of the devil in the body of a human being and the exercise of diabolical power. Possession by the devil is openly manifested during the periods of crisis. There will be seizures and convulsions, blasphemy, obscene words or actions, fits of anger or irreverence. The victims usually are not conscious of what they are doing, and they have no recollection when they come out of the period of crisis.

The Roman Ritual, first published in 1614, stated that if a person exhibited a hatred and aversion to the sacred as well as certain specified symptoms, those phenomena were “indicative” of diabolical possession. The three requisite symptoms were: to speak or understand a previously unknown language (glossolalia), to identify objects at a great distance or hidden from view, and to exhibit strength far beyond the age or condition of the individual (see Russell Shaw, Our Sunday Visitor’s Encyclopedia of Catholic Doctrine as reference for above data).

In today’s gospel about the healing of the  demoniac, however, Jesus is presented to have power even to the supernatural world. In a similar story, he could even expel demons from the two  possessed men who had superhuman strength, self-destructive and dangerous that no one could travel by the road where they lived [Mt 8:28] and no one could bind these men possessed by 6000 demons with success.

In contrast to the people of Nazareth who earlier rejects Jesus, the people of Capernaum recognize his power to drive out demons. He has no need to resort to unusual methods in driving out unclean spirits. He has but to speak with authority and they come out. Leaving the victim unharmed. The Jews were spellbound to hear Jesus speaking with authority unlike the Pharisees and the scribes that even the evil spirits at Jesus’ commands obey him.

Indeed Jesus is the fulfillment of the Messianic prophesy. Jesus, the  Messiah, who has been sent to proclaim liberty to the captives and  release to the prisoners  [Is 61:1; Lk 4:18] also frees those who are oppressed by the demons. Pray to Jesus that he will set us free us from our slavery to sin and from the dominion and oppression of Satan and the evil ones.

“Discipline yourselves, keep alert. Like a roaring lion your adversary the devil prowls around, looking for someone to devour. Resist him, steadfast in your faith, for you know that your brothers and sisters in all the world are undergoing the same kinds of suffering. And after you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, support, strengthen, and establish you” (1 Pet. 5:6-10).

Picture: Jupiter Images

Alternative Homily:

Advertisements

2 Responses to "Mk 1:21-28 – Sunday Gospel Reflection"

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

January 2009
M T W T F S S
    Feb »
 1234
567891011
12131415161718
19202122232425
262728293031  

Categories

Blog Stats

  • 293,844 hits
%d bloggers like this: