Has it ever happened that someone you thought you knew well did something that truly surprised you? Something out of character? Something that made you say: “I didn’t know she had it in her?”
The demon in this Sunday’s Gospel claims to know Jesus. But does it really know who Jesus is? Perhaps the demon is trying to flatter Jesus, to pretend to give him homage in a vain attempt to curry his favor. Jesus rebukes the demon and demands that it come out of the possessed man. And the demon has no choice but to obey.
The exorcism of the demon falls between two of Mark’s comments about how the people respond to the teaching of Jesus. Mark first reports that the people are astonished because Jesus taught with authority. Then, after the demon is cast out, the people marvel, “What is this? A new teaching with authority.” (See Mark 1:21-28.)
One of the sisters shares her reflection on today’s Gospel:
In his teaching, Jesus instructs us about God. We may think we know who God is. But do we really? In early life we may absorb ideas about God that give us a distorted image of him. Even when we know from our faith, for example, that God loves us, we may find it hard to actually believe that. We may harbor the idea that God is a severe taskmaster, always watching for some mistake we make in order to punish us for it.
Just as Jesus cast out the demon, he can cast out from our minds these distorted ideas. He will do that when we go before him in faith and ask him to teach us who God is, to show us the Father. Prayerfully reading the Gospels will gradually form our minds in the truth about God. Then we will be able to say truthfully, “I know who you are.”
For more reflections from the Daughters of St. Paul on the Daily Gospels, check out Ordinary Grace.