Now, there’s a modern-day concept!” Demons?
No sooner than I read that word,
I was already considering the first or second reading
as the focus for this homily.
But then I remembered a movie trailer for horror flick.
Its tag line?
Everyone has their demons!
Yes, everyone has their demons. But what does that mean? In short, I think it means this:
There are forces at work in the world around us and the world within us that block our way to God.
There are several to approach this matter:
We can think about these forces and their connection to personal sins:
Sin brings trouble into our life.
Then that trouble takes on a life of its own.
That’s one way to think about the impact of evil
on our life.
Here’s another way to view the topic of evil:
Malicious forces that impact our life.
Destructive powers beyond our control;
Or, thirdly, we can view the struggle with evil
in an abstract, theological way as the consequence of the Fall of Adam and Eve, leaving us all to live amid the ruins of a once beautiful garden.
Regardless how you frame it, there is little doubt that conflict and tension are common themes in human life
and this is where evil first shows up
in our individual experiences.
Normally, we do not employ the word “demon” to describe the experience.
Normally, we do not describe ourselves as “possessed” by demons.
Yet, we do recognize what it means to experience “disintegration,”
a sense of being inwardly “torn” or “divided.”
When it comes living in harmony with God,
and even ourselves, we live lives that are “divided.”
of division. What do I mean by “a divided life?” A divided life is what happens when you have one foot at work, one foot at home and the demands of both are tearing you apart. A divided life is what happens when God gives you vocation
but the world tells you to “just get a job.” A divided life happens when communication in your marriage gets replaced with Internet chat rooms…or worse. A divided life happens when sickness or depression, loneliness or addictions drive a wedge between you and those you love and those who love you
A divided life is lethal to the life of the soul. The reason is simple. When we are divided, with faith on one side,
despair on the other, we begin to think that God has NOTHING TO DO WITH US. And that’s the voice of the demon talking!
Did you hear what the demon screams in today’s reading: “What do you have to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth?” The destructive force that Christ confronts in today’s gospel is a demon that tries to convince that man in the synagogue that the God who-loves-him-beyond-all-imagining has nothing to do with him.
It seems to be a favorite past-time of demons.
They counteract our instinct to turn to God at those times that we feel divided.
Apparently, when you move close to God
at such times, the “screamin’ demon” gets all worked up.
and tries its best to distract our attention
from the voice of the Holy Spirit: “See, see! Didn’t I tell you? Jesus of Nazareth wants nothing…
NOTHING…to do with you!” Don’t believe the voice of the demon. And don't ignore what happens in today's gospel once the demon is expelled: The demon came out of the man and all were amazed and said to one another, “A new teaching from one with authority!” Friends, we don’t need a movie poster telling us that everyone has their demons. Rather, what we need to know is that Christ can out shout every one of our demons ...and send them on their way! He has that ability. He has that power. He has that authority. So, give him the authority he’s due: in your public life, in your home life, in your private life. Give him authority over your life… and, sooner or later, those screamin’ demons
will pack their bags
and hit the road.