Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Gospel Text for Sunday, 29 January 2012

Mark 1:21-28
Jesus and his disciples went to Capernaum; and when the Sabbath came, he entered the synagogue and taught. They were astounded at his teaching, for he taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes. Just then there was in their synagogue a man with an unclean spirit, and he cried out, "What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are, the Holy One of God." But Jesus rebuked him, saying, "Be silent, and come out of him!" And the unclean spirit, convulsing him and crying with a loud voice, came out of him. They were all amazed, and they kept on asking one another, "What is this? A new teaching-- with authority! He commands even the unclean spirits, and they obey him." At once his fame began to spread throughout the surrounding region of Galilee.

1 comment:

  1. Occupation, subjugation, invasion: It is not too hard to make the leap between being a people oppressed by occupying forces (1st Century Jews under Roman rule) and describing some individuals as being occupied by evil (the man possessed by demons). 2000 years ago in Capernaum in both cases what was needed was exorcism, a ministry to remove the undesirable force. And there was no better minister to this purpose than Jesus.

    Jesus arrived and revealed that evil is that which undermines relationship between God and humanity. That said, the casting out or expelling of evil involves shocking (astounding, amazing) a person (or community, or country) into the awareness that they are in relationship with God, the unequivocal presence of divine authority. Truth be told, not only are they in relationship with God, they are possessed by God. Realizing that they are possessed by God restores the person or community or country to health or well-being in right relationship. The occupying forces are dismantled. The Kingdom of God is established on earth.

    The questions this raises for me is, “What foreign forces occupy me and keep me from finding my will and my way in God? To whom or to what have I given authority in God’s stead?” I cannot say I have clear answers to these questions but I know what I’m going to pray. “Holy God, show me the way to live under Your authority; give me the faith to know that your Kingdom has come and I am your beloved child. Through Your Christ I pray. Amen. ”