Evil Spirits

Luke 4:31-37
1 Thes 5:1-6,9-11 / Psa 27

Jesus rebuked the evil spirit, and commanded him, “Be quiet! Come out of him!”
(Luke 4:35)

No evil spirit can prevail
Against the power of God’s Word;
All its attempts will surely fail,
Have faith, as Jesus is our Lord.

Then Jesus went down to Capernaum, a town in Galilee, and on the Sabbath He taught the people. They were amazed at His teaching, because His words had authority. In the synagogue there was a man possessed by a demon, an impure spirit. He cried out at the top of his voice, “Go away! What do you want with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are—the Holy One of God!” Jesus rebuked the evil spirit, and commanded him, “Be quiet! Come out of him!” Then the demon threw the man down before them all and came out without injuring him. All the people were amazed and said to each other, “What words these are! With authority and power He gives orders to impure spirits and they come out!” And the news about Him spread throughout the surrounding area. (Luke 4:31-37)

Reflection

The evil spirit was terrified in the presence of the Holy One of God, and tried to “expose” our Lord so that the plan of God would not be fulfilled. But Jesus knew the demon’s scheme, and commanded it to come out of the man it had possessed. The demon had no other recourse but to obey. Thus did our Lord demonstrate His power over the evil forces.

We who are followers of Jesus, our Lord are assured by this Gospel passage that we have nothing to fear from the evil forces of hell. As the psalmist wrote in today’s responsorial psalm, “The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom should I fear? The LORD is my life’s refuge; of whom should I be afraid?” (Psalm 27:1) As long as we have accepted Jesus into our life – literally, by receiving Him regularly in the Holy Eucharist of the Mass – then we have all the reason to be bold in this spiritual warfare of winning souls for Jesus Christ.

If our Lord lives in our heart through the Holy Eucharist, we must also make Him live in our minds through the Holy Scriptures. Our constant exposure to the Word of God by reading the Bible daily gives us the armor that St. Paul wrote about: “Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God” (Eph.6:13-17).

I once read in one book of reflections that in order to follow our Lord faithfully as a soldier of Christ, we must know Him through the sacred Scriptures, stow His words in our hearts, show His values in our life, and sow His Word in the world around us. By living proactively this way as a Christian, we can be sure that we have the guidance and protection of the Holy Spirit, against Whom no horde of evil spirits can ever withstand. And so we should take heart and be encouraged by the words of the psalmist: “Wait for the LORD with courage; be stouthearted, and wait for the LORD.” (Psa 27:14)

With You on our side, Lord God, why should we be anxious and afraid of the influence of the evil one? Sustain our desire for Your holy presence in our life, and for Your Word that gives us confidence and a discerning spirit. Thank You, Father God for all Your blessings. Amen.

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