Exorcism

Exorcism - Pope Francis       

 

Pope Francis         28.01.18  Angelus, St Peter's Square        4th Sunday of Ordinary Time Year B           Mark 1: 21-28


Dear Brothers and Sisters, Good morning!

Pope Francis with young people from the Catholic Action of the Diocese of Rome - Caravan of Peace - Angelus 28.01.18


This Sunday’s Gospel reading (cf. Mk 1:21-28) is part of a wider narrative called the “day in Capernaum”. At the heart of today’s reading is the event of the exorcism through which Jesus is presented as a powerful prophet in word and deed.

He enters the Synagogue of Capernaum on a Saturday and he begins teaching. The people are astonished by his words because they are not ordinary words. They do not sound like the ones they are accustomed to hearing. The Scribes in fact teach but without any authority. And Jesus teaches with authority. Jesus instead teaches like one who has authority, thus revealing himself as God’s Emissary, and not a simple man who has to base his teaching solely on earlier traditions. Jesus has full authority. His doctrine is new and the Gospel says that the people commented: “a new teaching! With authority” (v. 27).

At the same time, Jesus reveals himself to be powerful also in deeds. In the Synagogue of Capernaum, there is a man who is possessed by an unclean spirit which manifests itself by shouting these words: “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” (24). The devil tells the truth: Jesus came to destroy the devil, to ruin the demon, to defeat him. This unclean spirit knows the power of God and he also proclaims his holiness. Jesus rebukes him saying: “Be silent, and come out of him!” (v. 25). These few words from Jesus are enough to obtain victory over Satan, who comes out of that man “convulsing him and crying out in a loud voice”, the Gospel says (v. 26).

This makes a strong impression on those present. Everyone is overcome by fear and asks themselves: “What is this? [...] he commands even the unclean spirits and they obey him”. (v. 27). The power of Jesus confirms the authority of his teaching. He does not just speak with words, but he takes action. In this way, he manifests God’s plan with words and with the power of his deeds. In the Gospel in fact, we see that in his earthly mission, Jesus reveals the love of God both through preaching and through countless gestures of attention and aid to the sick, the needy, children and sinners.

Jesus is our Teacher, powerful in word and deed. Jesus imparts to us all the light that illuminates the sometimes dark paths of our lives. He also transmits to us the necessary strength to overcome difficulties, trials and temptations. Let us consider what a great grace it is for us to have known this God who is so powerful and so good! A teacher and a friend who shows us the path and takes care of us especially when we are in need.

May the Virgin Mary, the woman of listening, help us to create silence around us and within us, in order to hear, through the din of the messages of the world, the most authoritative word that there is: that of her Son Jesus who proclaims the meaning of our existence and delivers us from all slavery, even that of the Evil one.



Pope Francis      12.10.18   Holy Mass  Santa Marta          Luke 11: 15-26
https://sites.google.com/site/francishomilies/christian-vigilance/12.10.18.jpg



The essence of the devil is either to destroy directly through vices and wars, or to try to do so in a more educated way by making man live in the spirit of worldliness.

When the devil takes possession of a person’s heart, he makes it his home not wanting to leave. Many times Jesus cast out demons, his and our true enemies, and they always tried to harm people, even physically.

The struggle between good and evil may be too abstract for many people, but the true struggle is the first battle between God and the ancient serpent, recounted in Genesis, between Jesus and the devil. This struggle takes place in each of us, even if we are unaware of it.

The devil’s nature and his very vocation is to destroy the work of God. Some believers doubt his existence however, and believe that he is only an invention forged by priests. But he does exist, he destroys. When the devil cannot destroy openly because God is a greater force that defends the person, then he, cunning and "smarter than a fox", searches for ways to take possession of a person.

In the Gospel passage Jesus speaks of the unclean spirit, who travels through arid places looking for somewhere to rest. And he can't find it. So he thought, 'I'm going back to my house, where I came from.' The demon even politely presents himself by saying "I've returned" instead of admitting that he was thrown out. But the home is tidy, ordered. So he takes 7 other demons with him worse than him, they enter and settle there. So the condition of this man is worse at the end than at the beginning. This return of the demon after his expulsion is something that could affect us all.

We are Christians, Catholics, we go to Mass, we pray..... Everything seems to be fine. Yes, we have our faults, our little sins, but everything seems to be fine. Acting like a polite person the demon goes about to find a weak point , looks for more demons, knocks on the door saying "Excuse me? May I come in?" and he rings the bell. And these polite educated demons are worse than the first ones, because you don't realize you have them at home. And this is the worldly spirit, the spirit of the world.

The devil destroys either directly with vices, with wars, with injustices, or politely, diplomatically in this way, as Jesus describes. They don't make noise, they make friends, they convince you – "No, it's possible, it's not that much, no, but.... so far it's okay" - and they take you on the road to mediocrity, they make you a "lukewarm" pushing us on the path to worldliness.

Christians watch out against falling into this spiritual mediocrity, into this "spirit of the world", which corrupts us from within. I am more afraid of these educated demons than others.

When someone asks for an exorcist for a person possessed by a demon, I am not that worried, but I am worried when someone opens their door to polite demons who persuade them from within as friends.

I often ask myself: what is worse in a person's life? A clear sin or to live in the spirit of the world, of worldliness? The demon who seduces you to sin 1, 10, 20, 30 times, and you are ashamed - or the demon who sits with you at the table and lives, lives with you and everything is normal, but there he whispers things to you and takes possession of you with the spirit of worldliness.

Jesus prayed at the Last Supper: "defend them from the spirit of the world" - exhorting his disciples to be vigilant and calm. Let us Christians be vigilant and calm with these polite demons who want to enter the house as wedding guests. Christian vigilance is the message of Jesus, that questions what is happening in the heart - why am I so mediocre; why am I so lukewarm; how many well-mannered people live at home without paying their rent?




Pope Francis           31.01.21 Angelus, Library of the Apostolic Palace        4th Sunday of Ordinary Time Year B           Mark 1: 21-28


Dear brothers and sisters, good morning!
Jesus Christ

Today’s Gospel passage (cf. Mk 1:21-28) tells of a typical day in Jesus’ ministry; in particular, it is the Sabbath, a day dedicated to repose and prayer: people went to the synagogue. In the synagogue of Capernaum, Jesus reads and comments on the Scriptures. Those present are attracted by His manner of speaking; their astonishment is great because He demonstrates an authority different to that of the scribes (v. 22). Furthermore, Jesus shows Himself to be powerful also in His deeds. Indeed, a man of the synagogue turns to Him, addressing Him as God’s Envoy: He recognises the evil spirit, orders him to leave that man, and so drives him out (vv. 23-26).

Two characteristic elements of Jesus’ work can be seen here: preaching, and the therapeutic action of healing: He preaches and heals. Both of these aspects stand out in the passage of the evangelist Mark, but preaching is emphasised the most; exorcism is presented as a confirmation of His singular “authority” and His teaching. Jesus preaches with His own authority, as someone who possesses a doctrine derived from Himself, and not like the scribes who repeated previous traditions and laws. They repeated words, words, words, only words: as the great singer Mina sang, [“Parole, parole, parole”]; that is how they were. Just words. Instead Jesus, His word has authority, Jesus is authoritative. And this touches the heart. Jesus' teaching has the same authority as God who speaks; for with a single command He easily frees the possessed man from the evil one, and heals him. Why? Because his word does what He says. Because He is the definitive prophet. But why do I say this, that He is the definitive prophet? Remember Moses’ promise: Moses says, “After me, long after, a prophet like me will come - like me! - who will teach you”. Moses proclaimed Jesus as the definitive prophet. The teaching of Jesus has the same authority as God who speaks, because he has the power to be the definitive prophet, that is, the Son of God who saves us, who heals us all.

The second aspect, healing, shows that Christ’s preaching is intended to defeat the evil present in humankind and the world. His word is pointedly directed at the kingdom of Satan: it puts him in crisis and makes him recoil, obliging him to leave the world. Touched by the Lord’s command, this possessed, obsessed man is freed and transformed into a new person. In addition, Jesus’ preaching conforms to a logic contrary to that of the world and of the evil one: His words reveal the upheaval of a mistaken ordering of things. In fact, the demon present in the possessed the man cries out as Jesus approaches: “What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us?” (v. 24). These expressions indicate the total extraneousness between Jesus and Satan: they are on completely different planes; there is nothing in common between them; they are the opposite of each other. Jesus, authoritative, who attracts people by his authority, and also the prophet who liberates, the promised prophet who is the Son of God who heals. Let us listen to the words of Jesus, which are authoritative: always, do not forget! Carry a small copy of the Gospel in your pocket or in your bag, in order to read it during the day, to listen to that authoritative word of Jesus. And then, we all have our problems, we all have our sins, we all have spiritual malaises; ask Jesus: “Jesus, you are the prophet, the Son of God, He who was promised to us to heal us. Heal me!” Ask Jesus for healing, from our sins, from our ills.

The Virgin Mary always kept Jesus’ words and deeds in her heart, and followed Him with complete availability and faithfulness. May she help us too to listen to Him and follow Him, to experience the signs of His salvation in our lives.