In the first chapter of Mark gospel, the powers of evil confront Jesus. A possessed, raving man gets right in Jesus’ face and screeches, “What do you have to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are, the Holy One of God.”
Jesus rebukes the demon saying, “Be silent, and come out of him!” The unclean spirit convulses the man and crying with a loud voice, comes out. Jesus radiates with such authority that even demons obey instantly.
Conversions are life-changing events, whether they are our first conversion that called us to be committed disciples of Jesus Christ, or the conversion that calls us to reorder our priorities. Two things are involved: “Be quiet” – and listen to the authoritative voice of God. Second, “Come out” – that is, break free, let go, get rid of something or someone that is binding us.
The command to be silent and listen is a challenge. So often in prayer we ask for what we want. We should approach God in the stillness of our hearts. “Here I am Lord. I come to do your will. What is your will for me today?” Then we listen.
A teacher asked her children to write about their experience of silence. One boy discovered that “Silence is a tree spreading its branches to the sun.” Another student’s poem turned into a prayer: “Silence is like spiders spinning their webs; it’s like a silkworm making its silk. Lord, help me to know when to be silent.” A little girl offered a gem of spiritual wisdom: “Silence reminds me to take my soul with me wherever I go.”
When we follow the command of Jesus to be silent, we spread our branches to the sun and soak up the light of God’s love, forgiveness, and peace. When we hear God’s still, small voice, we are like silkworms spinning the silk of a holy life. When we listen for the guidance of the Lord, we rediscover that our most precious treasure is our soul that we have from the very beginning of life.
Jesus goes on to say, “Come out!” Break free, let go, get rid of something or someone. A demon or unclean spirit is something or someone that enslaves us, prevents us from being the person God wants us to be. Many unclean spirits surround us – resentment, slander, covetousness, jealousy, anger, hostility, ageism, sexism, racism, addictions, bad relationships, to mention few. Whatever possesses us is our demon.
Naming the demon is extremely important. The reason our demons get the best of us is that we won’t identify them because we depend on them. For example, someone who works 60-70 hours a week and spends zero time with his family, brings home a big check. Instead of naming that demon, we are willing to allow that demon to hang around because it helps us buy things.
A man told me he had asked for a transfer in his job – although it meant a $10,000 cut in salary and the loss of some bonuses. He did it, he said, because he realized his lifestyle had to change. He was constantly traveling, constantly without his family, and he had to make that decision. He was willing to name the demon and cast it out.
A radio commercial lamented the cold weather, the slush, and all the snow. Then it offered a cure. God to the gigantic shopping mall filled with good things to buy. Buy things, and you’ll feel better. When we do that, we allow “things” to own us. We become possessed!
Name the demon and go before the Lord in silent prayer and ask for the grace to be free of these unclean spirits. The Lord will give us the strength we need to get cast out these demons.
Posted on Fri, February 6, 2015
by Rev. Wilmer L. Todd