Fr Thomas’ Reflection for the 4th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Be Not Just COVID Safe, Be EVIL Safe

             Sydney siders have been hoping for more relaxation of COVID restrictions, considering two weeks of no community transmission of the virus.  But the premier is more cautious of relaxing the restrictions for the fear of relapse of the dreaded spread of the virus.  Anything that is adverse to the wellbeing of our brothers and sisters is to be resisted effectively.  Are the virus and bacteria the worst thing that can hinder a wholesome life?  With physical illness, at least there is hope of curing with medication.  But there are other more nasty things that can stop life from being lived fully. Physical medications are no good for those cases. 

Ongoing anger, revengeful attitude, jealousy, family feud, malicious gossiping, abuse of power, addiction to sex, and many such evils can be more destructive in life than anything else.  In biblical terms they are demoniac influences.  Medical systems could be clueless about any restoration of life from such evils that can make life more miserable than any pandemic could do.

Jesus from the very start of his ministry cared for the people suffering from demoniac afflictions.  Every human being as the creation of God has a right to live life to the fullest.  No evil power or influence should be allowed to take away the dignity and joy of living fully.  With God, in the person of Jesus, with us, we need not fear any evil.  The Gospel of Mark 1:21-28 is announcing this great good news. Jesus came to his home town, Capernaum.  Everyone in the town knew about Jesus and of his ability to cure sick and possessed people. He did not disappoint them.  As part of his ministry to them, he not only read and commented on the Holy Scripture, but also drove out evil spirits from those who were possessed.

The demons knew who Jesus is and said, “Jesus of Nazareth”.  It was like those who say, “I went to a catholic school and I know all about the Bible and the Church.”  Is that good enough?  Jesus taught in their synagogue and they were familiar with him.  Even the people who were possessed by evil spirit knew that he was the Son of God.  The knowledge and familiarity was not enough to ward off evil spirits.  For a proper exorcism, which we all need to some extent, we need to be submitting to the Son of God.  Without such a surrender, our knowledge of Jesus and his message does not produce the fruits of the Kingdom of God.

Jesus spoke from his heart, a heart that is touched by the Heavenly Father.  It is a heart of love and compassion.  As people of faith in Jesus, have you worked on liberating those you find possessed by demoniac afflicts?  Your life of faith in Jesus gives you a kind of authority nothing else could provide. When you act in the name of Jesus, it will just be as amazing as Jesus in Capernaum.  Just as then, people around you also will be saying, “What is this? A new teaching—with authority!  He commands even the unclean spirits, and they obey him.” (Ref Mark 1:27).

COVID is to be dreaded.  But know that there are other evils that are more damaging in life.  Therefore, be not just COVID safe, but be evil safe.