4th Sunday of Ordinary Time
Today’s scriptures call us to reflect upon the days of old. Are we ready to in our time machine and go back in time? Long long ago, in a time referred to as “in the beginning”, lurked a seductive voice. This voice was opposed to God and to this very day seeks to make humans fall into a condition of spiritual death out of envy.
We see it all around us when people accept wrong as OK or worse right. Just because a group of people with an agenda say an untruth is the truth does not make it so and reinforces the subtlety and stealthness of the evil voice.
Scripture and the Church’s Tradition see in this being a fallen angel, we call “Satan” or the “devil”. It is proper to associate all angles as spiritual beings with wings and many serve as our protectors and messengers of “the good news”. The description of the Fall of Angles can be found in the Catechism of the Catholic Church numbers 391-395.
The Church teaches “These angles and other spirits were indeed created naturally good by God”. All the angles knew their creator and recognized Him immediately. The fallen angels like we humans were granted free will and became evil by their own choice. Thus they became known as unclean spirits or demons.
From the beginning the reign of untruth and trouble for humanity began. We see it in the story of the first woman and man – Adam and Eve in the garden.
Now let us step into our time machine and leap forward in time to the Book of Deuteronomy. Here we hear the people Israel were waiting in the desert at the foot of Mount Horeb. They were fearful of the fire and voice of the Lord God almighty that surrounded the mountain as they waited for Moses to come down. When Moses arrived they begged him to silence the voice of God and extinguish the fire lest they die. Their request was granted but not without a promise. We hear Moses promise the Lord God Almighty will one day raise up a prophet from their own kin, and to him you shall listen. I will put my own words in His mouth and he shall tell them all that I command. Listen to Him like it is your first and last time to hear his voice.
In today’s gospel we are reminded of the reality of the Fall of the Angles and in a place one might think the voice of the devil would never enter.
So now we have been set up for the message of Marks Gospel. Which voice are we going to follow? Both spiritual voices exist and cry out for our attention.
In Mark’s gospel Jesus begins His public ministry which represents a new beginning in time for Him and His message is He has come to establish a new beginning. On the Sabbath at Capernaum Jesus entered the synagogue and taught. The people were astonished at His teaching.
Jesus came to earth as the antidote for evil with the power and authority to counter the devil’s spirit and to make possible the creation of a new earth and a new heaven. Sacred Scripture calls this a mysterious renewal, which will transform humanity as Jesus He creates the opportunity for each of us to be reborn again each and every day.
To drive home this point, Mark places in the synagogue in the midst of the assembly, where we might least expect it, a man with an unclean spirit. It’s Jesus first day on the job. “In the beginning” Jesus encounters and confronts the spirit of a demon. Mark uses this unclean spirit of a demon to demonstrate from the beginning the fallen angel was the first to know God and so knew immediately who Jesus was!
Jesus came to confront evil and open our eyes to see the doorway and pathway to heaven. He came to show us He is the power and authority to drive out our demons if only we open ourselves to His spirit. He came so our ears may be opened so we can hear the sound of His voice.
I don’t have to look far (open heart surgery) to see the good Lord has chosen that I have the opportunity to begin life again with a new heart. I have no doubt He has chosen to send me to you to deliver His message of Hope. Twice He decided that I should live! He sent me to you to speak of the power and authority of the Holy Spirit as symbolized by a dove.
Here is a dove, a symbol of the Holy Spirit (lifting up a pure white dove). Pure white to symbolize the spirit of forgiveness which washes us clean and the spirit of truth that leads one away from the devil and sets us on the path to salvation.
The question the church is asking each of us today is, what demons do we have that we allow to possess us? Do we think we can drive out these demon alone or do we believe with the help of Jesus and the Holy Spirit we can drive out any demon? Do we believe it is possible for us to be born again like an innocent baby?
Our nation is being fed a constant stream of untruths broadcast from multiple sources in an effort to create an image of truth.
To save ourselves and our nation we must turn back to the voice of the one who created us, the voice of truth who has the power to save us and our nation.
So are we open and ready for the real possibility that our spirit can be reborn and washed clean as white as new fallen snow? Yes Jesus has the power and authority to raise us up to new life where we can encounter a new earth, a new nation and a new heaven?