Deut 18:15-20; 1 Cor 7:32-35; Mark 1:21-28
In this gospel Jesus encounters a person in his need. Jesus confronts the unclean spirit, rebukes it and restores the person to health. Christ demonstrates, on the Sabbath in the synagogue, that He has the authority to do this. He demonstrates this by His power. He demonstrates that he is the prophet foretold by Moses, announced in the first reading to the Israelites.
We see that his words and actions make people sit up and take notice. They see the forces of chaos and disorder, disease, illness, evil, turned back and overcome by His personal power, the power in His person. This is the force that created order out of chaos recounted in Genesis. This is the God who rolled back the Red Sea. This Jesus is the God-force, acting now in the synagogue. He has authority. His power demonstrates it.
The unclean spirit recognizes the power in the person of Jesus, the holy, but not the scribes and Pharisees. The simple people and his fishermen disciples recognized this. Do we?
Do we know that Jesus has the power to heal our afflictions, our unclean spirits. Do we want him to do so? Unclean spirits separate us from God, from ourselves, from the best of what God wants for us. We are not in possession of ourselves when we are possessed by another force. We are dis-eased.
What are these forces – unclean voices– in our lives today? Pornography? Alcohol? Drugs? Money? Gossip? Jealousy? Anger? Anxiety? Tobacco? These can be substitues for God. So whose voice do we listen to — the chattering demons that can sometimes take possession of us or the voice of Christ Jesus? That same Christ, foretold by Moses, is with us today – here, in the scriptures, in the Eucharist. He can heal us, make us clean, if we ask.
We need first to recognize the unclean voice. Then we need to beg the Lord to still those voices and touch us with healing and peace. Ask him in the Eucharist today. In rebuking our unclean voices — those things that have a hold over us — Christ demonstrates that he is the authority – the power, peace — within us and in our world.