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Satan, Don’t Bother Me
Tuesday of the Twenty-Second Week in Ordinary Time
Jesus then went down to Capernaum, a town of Galilee. He taught them on the Sabbath, and they were astonished at his teaching because he spoke with authority. In the synagogue there was a man with the spirit of an unclean demon, and he cried out in a loud voice, “Ha! 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!” Jesus rebuked him and said, “Be quiet! Come out of him!” Then the demon threw the man down in front of them and came out of him without doing him any harm. They were all amazed and said to one another, “What is there about his word? For with authority and power he commands the unclean spirits, and they come out.” And news of him spread everywhere in the surrounding region.
Opening Prayer: Dear Lord Jesus, I look forward to this time of prayer with you. Help me to rest in you, be close to you, to be intentionally transparent with you and myself. I want to hear your word, ponder it, and put it into practice. I entrust myself to your grace, O Lord.
- “He Spoke with Authority”: The people in the synagogue were astonished because Jesus spoke with authority. Wherein lay his authority? He was not bossy; rather everything he said carried a weight to it. This went beyond the miracles; it was rooted in his very demeanor. People naturally tended to believe and obey Jesus since his words and commands were so true and so good. It was believable when he declared himself to be the way, the truth, and the life (John 14:6). Some people, like the Pharisees, could resist believing in him, but it took effort because to do so contradicted both the intellect and the heart. When there was an openness and continued contact, there would be eventual faith. In some cases, as with the first apostles, it happened quickly (The Public Life of Our Lord Jesus Christ, pp 37-51).
- The Cry of the Demons: The demons cried in a loud voice, “Ha! 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!” Demons are not all-knowing; only God is. However, they are pure spirits, have a greater intelligence than we do, and are more aware of spiritual realities. These demons recognized what some people did not; Jesus was the “Holy One of God.” This encounter terrified the demons. They recognized in Jesus a sanctity that made him not only impervious to their attacks, but gave him an irresistible authority over them. In another passage, the demons in the Gerasene demoniac asked, ‘“I beg you, do not torment me!” (Luke 8:30). Demons have real power and must not be toyed with through dabbling in things like the occult. However, they are powerless before God. The Christian need not fear the devil and his cohort when united to Christ through grace.
- “Come Out of Him!”: Jesus has come to save man from Satan’s grasp. Through his death and Resurrection, Our Lord opened the gates of heaven to man. His salvific work had already begun in his public ministry by forgiving sins and freeing people from demonic possession. Jesus was firm and uncompromising with the demons. While he allowed them to possess swine, he always cast them out from humans (Luke 8:32).
Conversing with Christ: Lord Jesus, you continuously remind me that “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff comfort me” (Psalms 23:4). You are there to protect me from all harm but most importantly from spiritual harm. Please deliver me from temptation and evil so that I may follow you to the “green pastures” of heaven (Psalms 23:2).
Resolution: Lord, today by your grace I will pray and offer a small sacrifice for the conversion of those involved in witchcraft and the occult.
For Further Reflection: Read “Four Common Tactics of the Devil,” by Msgr. Charles Pope.
Written by Fr. John Bullock, LC.