The following reflection is courtesy of PresentationMinistries.com (c) 2015. Their website is located at PresentationMinistries.com
“There appeared in their synagogue a man with an unclean spirit that shrieked.” Mark 1:23
As we begin “ordinary” time, we are already reading about Jesus driving out demons. Throughout the year, we will hear reading after reading about the Lord’s victory over the evil one. We will meet Michael the archangel and several saints, who were each victorious over the evil one. At the Masses on Easter Sunday, in every Catholic church in the world, the Church will invite us to publicly renounce Satan, all his works, and all his empty promises.
What are we to make of all these references to the devil? Because of the effects of secular humanism on us, we are tempted to consider the traditions of the Church and the Bible to be backward and unenlightened. This modern attitude is so arrogant that it serves as a good example of Satan’s deceptions, even while it denies such things. However, to be intellectually honest, we must admit that the Church and the Bible intend to be taken literally when they speak of Satan.
Christianity believes that Satan is a rebellious angel. He is not symbolic or just an evil force. He is a creature with a will and intelligence. Satan has several thousands or even millions of other fallen angels in his company. These are called “demons” or “devils.” They are real and powerful. They would destroy us if not for Jesus, but we can drive them out by Jesus’ power (Mk 16:17; Mt 10:1).
Prayer: Father, throughout this year may I fix my eyes on Jesus (Heb 12:2) and expel demons (Mk 16:17). Promise: “We do see Jesus crowned with glory and honor because He suffered death.” Heb 2:9 Praise: St. Hilary was praised by Sts. Augustine and Jerome as “a fair cedar transplanted out of this world into the Church.” (Let’s reject Satan, his evil works, and sin rather than rejecting Jesus and His good works. For a related teaching, order our leaflet Do You Renounce Satan? or on audio AV 44-1 or video V-44.)
Rescript: In accord with the Code of Canon Law, I hereby grant my permission to publish One Bread, One Body covering the period from December 1, 2014 through January 31, 2015.
Most Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Auxiliary Bishop, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, June 30, 2014.
The rescript is a declaration that a book or pamphlet is considered to be free of doctrinal or moral error. It is not implied that those who have granted ecclesial permission agree with the contents, opinions, or statements
The following reflection is courtesy of Don Schwager (c) 2015, whose website is located at DailyScripture.net
Do you believe that God’s word has power to set you free and to transform your life? When Jesus taught he spoke with authority. He spoke the word of God as no one had spoken it before. When the Rabbis taught they supported their statements with quotes from other authorities. The prophets spoke with delegated authority – “Thus says the Lord.” When Jesus spoke he needed no authorities to back his statements. He was authority incarnate – the Word of God made flesh. When he spoke, God spoke. When he commanded even the demons obeyed.
Faith works through love and abounds in hope
Augustine of Hippo (354-430 AD) remarked that “faith is mighty, but without love it profits nothing. The devils confessed Christ, but lacking charity it availed nothing. They said, ‘What have we to do with you’ (Mark 1:24)? They confessed a sort of faith, but without love. Hence they were devils.”
Faith is powerful, but without love it profits nothing (1 Corinthians 13). Scripture tells us that true faith works through love (Galatians 5:6) and abounds in hope (Romans 15:13). Our faith is made perfect in love because love orients us to the supreme good which is God himself as well as the good of our neighbor who is created in the image and likeness of God (Genesis 1:26,27).
Hope anchors our faith in the promises of God and purifies our desires for the things which will last for eternity. That is why the word of Christ has power to set us free from all that would keep us bound up in sin, deception, and despair. Bede the venerable abbot of an English monastery (672-735) contrasted the power and authority of Jesus’ word with the word of the devil: “The devil, because he had deceived Eve with his tongue, is punished by the tongue, that he might not speak” [Homilies on the Gospels 1.8].
Faith must be nourished with the Word of God
Faith is both a free gift of God and the free assent of our will to the whole truth that God has revealed. To live, grow, and persevere in the faith to the end, we must nourish it with the word of God. The Lord gives us his Holy Spirit to enlighten our minds that we may grow in his truth and in the knowledge of his great love for each of us. If we approach God’s word with trust and submission, and with an eagerness to do what the Lord desires for us, then we are in a much better position to learn what God wants to teach us through his word. Are you eager to be taught by the Lord and to conform your mind, heart, attitude, and intentions according to his word of truth, goodness, and love?
“Lord Jesus, your word is power and life. May I never doubt your love and mercy, and the power of your word that sets us free, and brings healing and restoration to body, mind, heart, and spirit.”