February 1, 2015 - 4th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B
Saint Martin de Tours Catholic Church
We bring our demons to church with us. It would be silly to think that somehow our restless spirits and our dark sides are left at the door when we come to church. No. They come with us.
We are all sinners and we carry our demons within us wherever we go. Those demons and unclean spirits possess us. They negatively impact our lives and the lives of those around us.
So it shouldn’t surprise us that the man with the unclean spirit is in the synagogue. But Jesus is not afraid of unclean spirits. He has power and authority over them.
The authority of Jesus overcomes the forces of evil. And every time the demons try to face Jesus, they are defeated.
We seek escape from those dark passions that take possession of us, those restless, unclean spirits within us that cause us so much pain and suffering.
Because we seek to be rid of these, it’s good that we bring our demons to church.
Here our restless, unclean spirits encounter Jesus. They recognize him; they even challenge him; but they cannot prevail over him.
Jesus casts out our unclean spirits and heals our dark sides. Jesus does not come to destroy us. Jesus comes to heal us.
But Jesus wasn’t in the synagogue just to cast out demons. Jesus was there to teach. The gospel says that Jesus teaches with authority.
Jesus still teaches us in this temple. His teaching is with authority. And he desires to teach us something in each and every encounter we have with him.
Week after week we read a passage from one of the four gospels. And the Church says that when the gospel is proclaimed at Mass, Jesus himself comes to speak to us.
What is Jesus trying to teach us? What lesson do we need to learn?
Are we resistant? Have we come to church with an openness and a desire to allow Jesus to do the work he desires to do?
Are we willing to allow Jesus to cast out the demons, to allow Jesus to heal what is broken, to allow Jesus to teach us and guide us?
What darkness or what sin needs healing in my life? Do I ask for that healing? What demons need to be cast out? Do I beg Jesus to expel the evil spirits that dwell within me?
Jesus does all the work. We just need to be open and desire his authority to be at work within us.
And we need to be here. We need to bring our demons to church with us, because Jesus is not afraid of our unclean spirits.
Our dark sides challenge and confront Jesus. But every time the demons try to face Jesus, they are defeated.
So the best thing for us to do with these restless hearts of ours is to keep bringing them to church because it is here that Jesus heals us.
Lord, by your power and authority, vanquish the evil that is within us. Conquer and overpower and overshadow those evil spirits that lurk in our soul and seek to control our lives.
Heal us and open us to all that you desire to teach us. Take us by the hand and, once again, make us your own.