Homily for January 19, 2017. Thursday of the 2nd Week in Ordinary Time
Bible Study: Hebrews 7:25 to 8, 6 and Mark 3:7 to 12.
While reading through today’s Gospel passage, one line which set me thinking was that which mentioned how the unclean spirits who saw Jesus fell down before him crying out: “You are the Son of God.” While the people were struggling to believe in Jesus, unclean spirits were already worshipping him indirectly. While the ordinary persons grappled with how not to see Jesus as the ordinary son of a carpenter, while the Pharisees and Sadducees could not see Jesus as anything more than a religious rascal who deserved death for his ‘blasphemies’, unclean spirits already were shouting: “Son of God, Son of God.”
Again, it is also quite interesting that even when these unclean spirits were trying to help Jesus spread his fame and true identity, Jesus would not let them speak. Mark says “And he strictly ordered them not to make him known.” A few days ago, we read about how Jesus was in a synagogue teaching and a man was there who had an unclean spirit. And he cried out, “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.” But Jesus rebuked him, saying, “Be silent, and come out of him!” Mark 1:24-26
Why would Jesus ask the unclean spirit to be silent? Indeed, the truth is that it wasn’t just the evil spirits that Jesus told to be silent. Even those who got miraculous healings from Jesus were also ordered by him not to tell anyone. For instance in Mark 7:10 after Jesus cured a deaf man, he told him to tell no one about it. Also in Luke 5:12, Jesus warned the leper not to say anything to anyone but simply go and show himself to the priest. We see this again in Luke 8:56 when Jesus raised a dead girl to life. What we can see from all these is that Jesus never aimed at cheap popularity. It wasn’t as if he felt the unclean spirits were too unworthy to proclaim his true identity, rather he just didn’t want anybody spreading his fame.
As to how the unclean spirits recognized Jesus when others were struggling to look beyond Jesus as an ordinary man, it speaks volumes about how we Christians lack faith as a result of over-familiarity while the so called non-believers tremble.
Again it shows that we cannot hide our real identity from the devil and his agents. We cannot pretend to be mighty Christians when our lives are full of hidden sins. Satan laughs at us when we hide under the shadow of pretence. It is human beings who need signs and wonders to be displayed in other to believe and it is human beings who can be deceived. Satan does not need any of that. He is capable of recognizing a true Christian from that who is not.
The higher we grow in our spiritual life, the bigger the threat we pose to Satan. And the closer we get to God, the more equipped we become with the spiritual weapons of our warfare. (Read more in Ephesians 6:12-19). We don’t even need to shout: “Satan die, Satan die, die, die” before he starts running away from us.” Jesus did not shout or sweat even a single drop when he performed exorcisms. I mean, Satan begins respect us when he sees what we are truly made of. By the time, we say we are going to Church to kill Satan and we shout from morning till night, only to come home and start committing sin as if there is no tomorrow, we only make a mockery of ourselves. Consider the thousands of churches in this country and how often they pray violent prayers against Satan, then look at all the evils happening in our society today. How come none of these prayers seem to be answered?
The book of Hebrews qualifies the priesthood of Jesus in the following words: “holy, blameless, unstained, separated from sinners…” Hebrews 6:26. Do these words strike a chord? By virtue of our baptism, we are priests, prophets and kings. But then, what type of priests are we? Are we making efforts to be like Jesus the perfect priest? Or do we give ourselves away before Satan by living in a manner unworthy of the name and office we bear?
Let us Pray: Lord Jesus, make me more like you in everything. Amen.
Be Happy. Live Positive. Have Faith. It is well with you. God bless you.