Reflections on the Readings
February 1, 2015 - Year B
Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Deliver Us From Evil
And immediately 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. And they were all amazed, so that they questioned among themselves, saying, "What is this? A new teaching! With authority he commands even the unclean spirits, and they obey him."
Have you ever taken time to meditate on this line in the 'Our Father,' "…but deliver us from evil?" I've used that line in my prayers linking it to other scriptures like, "and take not your holy spirit from me; create in me a clean heart and renew a right spirit within me. Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation."
Especially reflecting in prayer to be delivered from evil I include, "and every evil thought, every evil desire, and every evil word." Here it's good to take some time and get it all out; whatever evil is lurking at the door of my heart. Then, falling on the heels of that heart searching and praying I like praying, "O, my Jesus, forgive me my sins. Save me from the fires of hell. Lead all souls to heaven, especially those in most need of thy mercy. And then I like finishing that off praying three times, "Lord, Jesus Christ, Son of the living God, have mercy on me a sinner, Amen."
Prayerfully listen to today's gospel. Jesus acts with strength — with authority never before seen — remaining unmoved by the presence of the evil one. Important to us is to note that the unclean spirit had no doubt who Jesus was and said so — "I know who you are, the Holy One of God." And we should not doubt who he is either. For the very mention of his name makes demons shudder and believe that he is the Son of God. As we reflect on Jesus helping this poor soul in whom resided an unclean spirit, does it not cause us to remember that it is Jesus who came to destroy the work of the devil; how that he was anointed by the Holy Spirit and went everywhere doing good and healing all who were held somehow by the power of evil? (1 John 3:8; Acts 10:38)
What a mighty Savior Jesus is! It is Jesus Moses speaks of in the first reading stating that He will speak with authority. From his mouth will come the word of the Lord and those who do not listen to him will answer for it. Like those who hear his words but do not embrace his teaching. They are like the person who built his house on sand and the winds and the rain beat against his new house. And it fell, because it was built on sand. Such are those who prefer the words of soothsayers and evil oracles including Tarot Cards, Ouija board, and Palm Reading. Satan is deceptive, attempting to appear as an angel of light. (2 Corinthians 11:14)
Many are they who testify how the mighty power and authority of Jesus set them free from the snare of the devil. There's you and me for sure. And let us not forget the folks at the synagogue who were among the first who understood and exclaimed, "With authority he commands even the unclean spirits, and they obey him."
For whom the Son sets free is free indeed. Amen.