IV Sunday in Ordinary Time
Ps 95:1-2, 6-7, 7-9
1 Cor: 7, 32-35
Mk 1: 21-28
I do believe we all have some experience with evil. We may have not seen the devil but have experienced bad moments in life. Perhaps we have experienced violence, discrimination, poverty (these are some situations). At the same time we may feel or experience situations where God is absent. When people ask me about evil, they usually throw out the question: do you believe in the devil? I answer I do not. There are others who think that the Church teaches that we should believe in the devil, but of course she does not. To this I usually reply: “The Christians do not believe in the devil, we believe in God the Father, God the Son and the Holy Spirit”.
Our faith is trinitarian, the Church teaches us to believe in a relational God. A God who empty himself to build a close relationship with us. We confess our faith in God, we pray and ask for some favors from him. We do not believe in evil but neither deny its existence. Although in many situations of our life we may experience its effects and reality.
For example, when the evil is in our acts, in our attitudes: the anger, lie, sadness, sexual relation without love; in all the bad things that I can do or the others can do to me. But also evil is present in many bad situations of life, such as poverty, discrimination, sickness, and gossips. Another way is also lack of meaning in life, such as depression, failure, fatigue, and discouragement. When we voluntarily do evil this is a sin.
Today in the Gospel we listened to how Jesus identify evil, different from the scribes; the Gospel says “[…] he taught them as one having authority and not as the scribes”. The people waited for somebody different aside their leaders, Jesus taught with authority because he knew the scriptures came from him. However, we need to pay attention to the evangelist, because he is telling how the people were astonished for the reason that is the first appearance of Jesus after calling his disciples. Jesus brings a new teaching.
The doctrine from Jesus is deeper than the scribes, Jesus changes the way of looking at God, while the leaders thought that sickness and unclean spirits were punishments from God, Jesus is showing mercy and love from God. Christ renews the life situation of people, he brings life to people, especially the poor people, who are passing through the most difficult situations. Many Christians think about suffering as the scribes thought about it. Suffering, pain, poverty aren’t punishments from God. He wants to relieve all the distress in our lives. This is clear when we have listened to the Gospel Jesus expels the unclean spirit from the person “Jesus rebuked him and said, quiet! Come out of him! The unclean spirit convulsed him and with a loud cry came out of him.”
Jesus heals and cleans all that is the people who are in the wrong path. He continues to teach us and wants to change our life, He wants a new life for all people. The followers of Jesus understood that he changed their life, when they grasped the new teaching that said “He commands even the unclean spirits and they obey him”. This testimony helps us to understand that Jesus wants to change our bad situation for the best. That is the Kingdom of God.
The people of Israel were waiting for this Reign, the book of Deuteronomy remains the hope for the new prophet. “I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their kin, and will put my words into his mouth; he shall tell them all that I command him.” This Prophet is Jesus. We believe in him, we don’t believe in evil. Allowing Jesus to enter into our lives we are able to fight the evil to have experience the reign.
God doesn’t want us to suffer, he wants our welfare. We must think about all the things that don’t come from God and we need to change. The Gospel invite us to turn away from the evil structures in our daily life. Addiction, violence, hate, lies, gossip, abuse, and infidelity have to disappear, the Psalm invites us to replay “If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts”. Don't harden our hearts for the Lord come to us.