Monday, January 30, 2017

Monday of the Fourth Week in Ordinary Time

(Hebrews 11:32-40; Mark 5:1-20)

The man possessed by a devil in today’s gospel shows two characteristics of evil.  He is demonstratively violent, and he is frighteningly alone.  The man pulls apart the shackles and chains meant to bind him and apparently uses them to intimidate others.  He seems to have no feeling for anyone which makes the tombs a fitting dwelling.

But he cannot bully Jesus.  The Lord speaks directly to the source of the man’s outrage.  “’Unclean spirit, come out of the man!’” he commands.   The demon cannot help but obey.  It leaves the man as tranquil as a sleeping child.  Importantly, he is able to return home although he prefers to sing Jesus praises in the public square. 

Jesus gives us a lesson on how to face evil in our lives.  First, we should trust in him by prayer.  He will assist us as surely as he did the possessed man.  Second, if we cannot avoid the evil, we need to confront it with courage.  We respect an evil person like we do everyone else.  We need not shake or shrink.  Finally, although addressing a command to the evil may be fruitless, we might firmly offer a word of peace.