Reflection for 4th Sunday in Ordinary Time
First Reading: Deuteronomy 18:15-20
Second Reading: 1 Corinthians 7:32-35
Gospel: Mark 1:21-28
In their synagogue was a man with an unclean spirit… In today’s gospel, Jesus rebukes an unclean spirit. Quiet! Come out of him! Do you think there are any unclean spirits in our time? I imagine you would say “yes”. Can you name some “unclean spirits” of our day? How about any of the seven deadly or capital sins?… lust, greed, envy, pride, laziness, gluttony and sloth. These sins are called “deadly” as they can lead to other sins and vices.
We only need to look at ourselves…as to some extent, each one of us may have to a degree an “unclean spirit” in us. Simply said, it would be anything that keeps us from growing closer to Jesus. Something that prevents us from maybe praying like we would like to pray, loving others like we would like to love or being generous as we would like to be.
How do we drive unclean spirits out? Only Jesus can take away our unclean spirits and replace it with the Holy Spirit. A great starting point is to go to Confession. This will put us on the right track.
Why are unclean spirits still around after 2000 years? We know that God’s kingdom does not yet fully reign on earth as in heaven. We pray with confidence in the Our Father prayer: “thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” We ask ourselves: what prevents us from doing God’s Will? Perhaps we want to do “our own thing” or someone makes a suggestion to us, or it’s the work of the “enemy”. The key is to pay attention… be on guard and recognize those unclean spirits… don’t let them in!
All were amazed and asked one another, “What is this” A new teaching with authority. He commands even the unclean spirits and they obey him.” Jesus gives us authority today too… His love can conquer all – fear, doubt, anxiety, temptation or any unclean spirit. St. Paul says in today’s second reading: Brothers and sisters: I should like you to be free of anxieties… The Second Vatican Council told us that all Christians, independent of one’s state in life are called to a life of holiness…i.e. called to be anxious about the things of the Lord.
May God bless us always!