Free from burden

How2ReadBibleIn yesterday’s homily, I noted that God’s Word is always related to human need. If a person is dying of cancer, the gospel is God’s strong word of resurrection. If a person is permeated with guilt, the gospel is God’s assurance of forgiveness. If people experience extreme suffering, God’s word is our refuge and strength.

If a person is under the power of the devil, to that one has come the proclamation of  liberty to captives, the recovery of sight to the blind, and letting the oppressed or possessed go free. In this day’s gospel, we are presented by what we understand as a classic exorcism, a quite dramatic expulsion of a demon from a person. The stuff of movies, Hollywood, but sadly also real life. But if this is just a narrative of particularly dramatic demonstration of the power of the Word, then how is it related to your human need? Your need on this day? Continue reading

That would be amazing

Jesus-casting-out-demons2

In today’s gospel,A demoniac who could not speak was brought to Jesus, and when the demon was driven out the mute man spoke.” In Jesus’ day, deafness and dumbness usually went  together in persons, who are deaf from their birth. They could not hear, and so they could not learn to speak. But this man seems to be unable to speak, not by nature, but through the possession of a demon, who had taken away, or restrained the use of his speech, out of demonic malice. Continue reading

Go or Stay

gerasene-demoniacFollowing along in Matthew’s gospel, we recall the previous narrative was about the calming of the storm that beset the apostles while they and Jesus were crossing the lake. They arrive at their destination, a place known as the Gadarenes – among the Decapolis – 10 gentile cities on that side of the lake.. Here Jesus was met by two people possessed by demons who completely controlled the two people. While people are often blind to the true identity of Jesus, the demons clearly have an insight into Jesus’ identity. “What have you to do with us, Son of God” – not Jesus’ usual self-reference as Son of Man. “Have you come here to torment us before the appointed time?

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Authority: response

Jesus-in-Capernaum-SynagogueDemonic Knowledge. That the demonic powers possess a certain knowledge of Jesus’ identity is clear from the cry of recognition, “I know who you are, the Holy One of God.” This formula of recognition, however, does not stand alone. It is part of a larger complex of material exhibiting a striking difference between the forms of address employed by the demoniacs and the titles used by ordinary sick individuals. The latter group appeal to Jesus as “Lord” (7:8), “Teacher” (9:17), “Son of David” (10:47–48) or “Master” (10:51). The demoniacs, however, address Jesus as “the Holy One of God” (1:24), “the Son of God” (3:11) or “the Son of the Most High God” (5:7), formulations which identify Jesus as the divine Son of God. The contrast in address is an important characteristic distinguishing ordinary sickness from demonic possession, and reflects the superior knowledge of the demons. Some scholars make the distinction that the recognition-formula is not a confession, but a defensive attempt to gain control of Jesus in accordance with the common concept of that day, that the use of the precise name of an individual or spirit would secure mastery over him. Continue reading

Authority: response

Jesus-in-Capernaum-SynagogueDemonic Knowledge. That the demonic powers possess a certain knowledge of Jesus’ identity is clear from the cry of recognition, “I know who you are, the Holy One of God.” This formula of recognition, however, does not stand alone. It is part of a larger complex of material exhibiting a striking difference between the forms of address employed by the demoniacs and the titles used by ordinary sick individuals. The latter group appeal to Jesus as “Lord” (7:8), “Teacher” (9:17), “Son of David” (10:47–48) or “Master” (10:51). The demoniacs, however, address Jesus as “the Holy One of God” (1:24), “the Son of God” (3:11) or “the Son of the Most High God” (5:7), formulations which identify Jesus as the divine Son of God. The contrast in address is an important characteristic distinguishing ordinary sickness from demonic possession, and reflects the superior knowledge of the demons. Some scholars make the distinction that the recognition-formula is not a confession, but a defensive attempt to gain control of Jesus in accordance with the common concept of that day, that the use of the precise name of an individual or spirit would secure mastery over him. Continue reading