by Sister Francis Bangert
In Mark's Gospel today, Jesus enters the synagogue to teach. He knows who He is (One rooted in the love of the Trinity) and what His mission is ("I have come that you may have life and have it in abundance"). Clear identity and focused mission empower Him to teach with authority, to attract aching hearts with a new vision of life. To give credence to the power of His words, Jesus then acts: "Come out of him" and the unclean spirit, now powerless in the face of Jesus, comes out of him. Mark gives no further details about this man, except that Jesus healed him.
When have you or I personally experienced or know someone "being held powerless" by an addiction: perfectionism, alcoholism, workaholism, drugs, sex, gambling, food, or others. This "unclean spirit" controls us to such a degree that we are paralyzed and unable on our own to become free. It is only in turning to Jesus and reaching out to others (family, friends, recovery groups, counselor, spiritual director, confessor) that the power of love and compassionate listening can help us re-think, re-direct, re-cover and know the "abundant life" Jesus offers.
Through our Baptism, you and I -- the church -- are called in our daily lives and in ordinary ways to either reach out to others for help in our need, or be a life-giving instrument to those who are hurting. In this New Year, may we humbly receive the abundant life Jesus offers us and live in true freedom.
"If today you hear His voice, harden not your hearts."
Fran, I appreciated your reflection. How true that
addictions have power over people. I realize how
Jesus must have spoken with authority.
What a relevant reflection! It really touched me.