Brian’s Reflection: Saturday, Jan 31, 2009
Just then there was in their synagogue a man with an unclean spirit, and he cried out,
"What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know
who you are, the Holy One of God." But Jesus rebuked him, saying, "Be silent, and come
out of him!" And the unclean spirit, convulsing him and crying with a loud voice, came
out of him. They were all amazed, and they kept on asking one another, "What is this?
A new teaching--with authority! He commands even the unclean spirits, and they obey him."
- The Gospel called “Mark”, Chapter 1 (for Epiphany IV, Year B)
I can’t say about every faith or religion, because I don’t know them intimately enough. But I can speak from my experience of the Gospel. Every one of us has within us “unclean spirits”. These represent the inner forces that are destructive of Who we truly Are. And we also have the “spirit of the divine”; this is the message of the Incarnation. In the Gospel, Jesus represents that Divine Spirit that is an integral part of our Self, of every human being, and which represents a human being soaring to the height of “being made in the image of God”.
That/those “unclean spirit(s)” are powerful, and Legion. The Gospel (and the “soul” of the Hebrew Scriptures) presents God as Compassionate, Unconditionally loving, Just, Merciful, Kind, and Caring, and desirous to give Life and crush the power of “Death” and all the death-dealing powers the fear of Death can wield. Jesus is the symbol, having been “born of Mary”, of the Divine power in us.
To “put one’s faith in Jesus” is to claim the Divine Character for ourselves, and to acknowledge its power to confront the “demons” within us, and to say to them, “Be silent, and come out of her/him!”
At times in our lives, those “demons” have a tight grip. And when we allow “Jesus” to confront them, the engagement can be violent - but the “demon” must leave when confronted by Love and Truth.
You can see that we have a responsibility. We must honestly confront our “demons”. Rightly understood, this is what “confessing our sins” is all about. It is about honesty about ourselves. Believe me, the clash between our “demons” and our honest self-awareness is explosive - but the “demons” have no chance, even though their “leaving” can knock us on our ass.
Divine – and human – Love casts out all sorts of demons. This reality is at the core of Existence. This is what the Gospel teaches. Let us accept the gift.