22nd Week in the Ordinary Time
1st Reading: 1Cor 2:10b-16
Brothers and sisters: The Spirit scrutinizes everything, even the depths of God. Among men, who knows what pertains to the man except his spirit that is within? Similarly, no one knows what pertains to God except the Spirit of God. We have not received the spirit of the world but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may understand the things freely given us by God. And we speak about them not with words taught by human wisdom, but with words taught by the Spirit, describing spiritual realities in spiritual terms. Now the natural man does not accept what pertains to the Spirit of God, for to him it is foolishness, and he cannot understand it, because it is judged spiritually. The one who is spiritual, however, can judge everything but is not subject to judgment by anyone. For “who has known the mind of the Lord, so as to counsel him?” But we have the mind of Christ.
Gospel: Lk 4:31-37
Jesus went down to Capernaum, a town of Galilee. He taught them on the sabbath, and they were astonished at his teaching because he spoke with authority. In the synagogue there was a man with the spirit of an unclean demon, and he cried out in a loud voice, “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!” Jesus rebuked him and said, “Be quiet! Come out of him!” Then the demon threw the man down in front of them and came out of him without doing him any harm. They were all amazed and said to one another, “What is there about his word? For with authority and power he commands the unclean spirits, and they come out.” And news of him spread everywhere in the surrounding region.
THE POWER AND AUTHORITY OF JESUS: The rejection of Jesus at Nazareth is an opportunity to the people at Capernaum. Jesus speaks and acts with authority at Capernaum. The people were astonished and amazed at his words and deeds. They remark on the authority of his words (4:32) and the authority and power he exercised over the unclean demon (4:36). The exorcism of the unclean demon is the first miracle of Jesus, according to Luke. In the popular understanding of second temple Judaism, the demons were responsible for all sorts of evil. When Jesus teaches the word of God, demons tremble. The unclean demon was aware that the power of Jesus will destroy him. Jesus silences the demon not only to speak but also from harming the possessed man. At Nazareth Jesus said that God has anointed him to set the captives free. They are the symbols of the coming of God’s kingdom.
Prayer: Lord set me free from any evils chains in my life.
CALLED FOR SALVATION: Sometimes people come causing fear to Christians about the last day and saying things that make people feel like they will be caught unawares. But Paul makes it clear that we are not called for wrath but salvation and therefore we should not fear. However, there are those who are in the church like the man who was in the synagogue but are still bound by demons. In the salvation that we have received, is the freedom from all the works of the devil. We need to recognize amongst us those who are teaching false things to cause fear and also those who are under the influence of demons. In this way, we shall be able to encourage and build each other as we wait for his coming.
DELIVERANCE FROM EVIL: It is common to find in the churches of East Africa that people are delivered from evil spirits through prayers. It is interesting to note that a man with unclean demon in the synagogue. The evil spirit recognized who Jesus was, and said “I know who you are- the Holy One of God”. The Evil spirit begins to tremble before Jesus. In our lives too as humans we need to recognize Jesus and His power especially when we are tempted by spirit of tribalism, spirit of corruption, and spirit of lust and mediocre in faith. We need therefore to surrender to Him who will deliver us from the ‘spirits’ of this digital and secular world. It is Jesus who helps us to be quiet in times of troubles, difficulties, anxieties, because he loves his children. Let us also try to take steps to cast away all ‘evils’ in our society.