Jesus Commands the Demons
Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time
January 28, 2024
In Mark's Gospel this Sunday (Mark 3:21-28), Jesus has an encounter with many demons. There is a great deal that we can learn by looking at these exchanges. Jesus is very aware of the fact that there are beings that exist within and outside our universe, beings more intelligent than we are, beings that we cannot see, beings that affect our lives, but only in ways that God permits them to. We call them angels and demons, and they are very real. The Scriptures make it clear that we are called to have a healthy respect for the angels, who can, at present, see further than we do and who assist us in dealing with the world we cannot see and the choices that we must make; the implications of which we are not always aware of. At the same time, demons also exist, and they make suggestions in our minds that tempt us to be disobedient to God.
Jesus' relationship with the demons is very complex. We have to remember that he created everything–so Jesus has created the demons as well. How did they come to be demons? All we know is that they had a test at the beginning of their creation, much as we are having now. Some of them decided they did not want God; rather, they wanted their own will and not his, to be obedient to no one but themselves and not to serve God and love him. Because they had full knowledge, their choice was irrevocable. We, too, are in the midst of our test while we live on earth, but because we don't have full knowledge of the implications of our choices, we have a lifetime in which to make up our minds whether we’re going to serve God or not; whether we are going to move in with him (which is heaven), or choose to live apart from him (which is hell).
The biggest characteristic of the demons is that they are disobedient. The demons in this gospel want nothing more than to tell the world who Jesus is, which Jesus, at this point, would prefer not to be fully known. Whatever God wants the demons to do, they will want to do the opposite. Jesus' very approach is torture to these beings, who have made an irrevocable choice to be as far away from God as possible in their life.
Where are the areas of my life that might be in disobedience to the will of God? With Lent coming up in a few short weeks, now is the time for a thorough examination of conscience. A good thing to remember is that in heaven, we will all willingly be obedient to whatever God wants! Why not start practicing this now? Here, it is not so easy. We must struggle with our selfishness within and our own disorders, which often call evil good and good evil. A good examination is one where we sit down and encourage the good and expose that which needs fixing. Where are those areas that need the Lord’s attention? Where are the areas that may not be in obedience to the Lord, his church, and his scriptures?
Father Gary ~