Memory of the Mother of the Lord

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Reading of the Word of God

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

The Spirit of the Lord is upon you.
The child you shall bear will be holy.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Luke 4, 31-37

He went down to Capernaum, a town in Galilee, and taught them on the Sabbath.

And his teaching made a deep impression on them because his word carried authority.

In the synagogue there was a man possessed by the spirit of an unclean devil, and he shouted at the top of his voice,

'Ha! What do you want with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are: the Holy One of God.'

But Jesus rebuked it, saying, 'Be quiet! Come out of him!' And the devil, throwing the man into the middle, went out of him without hurting him at all.

Astonishment seized them and they were all saying to one another, 'What is it in his words? He gives orders to unclean spirits with authority and power and they come out.'

And the news of him travelled all through the surrounding countryside.


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Look down, O Lord, on your servants.
Be it unto us according to your word.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Chased away from Nazareth, Jesus chooses to stay in Capernaum, a very lively town that becomes “his city”. And it is precisely here, in the city, that Jesus’ preaching resumes. Luke presents us with Jesus while he continues to teach. At one point, a man possessed by an evil spirit began to shout, “Let us alone! What have you to do with us?” Jesus commanded the evil spirit to leave the man. And he promptly left him. Luke writes that everyone was afraid and wondered who he was who spoke so authoritatively as to drive out evil spirits. We do not really know what the Gospel narrative intended when it spoke about these spirits. By the Gospel’s account, they somehow were able to enter into people’s lives and disturb them both physically and psychologically. But if we think of the distortions and anxieties that are sometimes produced in our cities, I believe that we are not too far off from understanding this Gospel passage. The evil spirits of which the Gospel speaks are not strange, unknown; we know them well, and maybe they are a little present in all of us. They are the spirits of indifference, slander, self-love, fear of being put aside, fear of not counting for anything; the spirits of avoiding others; the spirits of distrust that brings us all anguish and violence; the spirits of egoism that drive us forward without any interest for others; the spirits of hatred and revenge, both small and large. And how many other evil, impure spirits circulate among us and ruin our lives and relationships with others, often making us just more and more sad! Unfortunately, so often we get stuck on thinking that only psychological analyses or particular drugs can bring relief and healing. There is no doubt that it is important to take into account the development of the human sciences in the field of the human soul. But, there is a fundamental issue: the presence of evil in human life requires conversion of the heart. Starting with conversion, evil is sent away and the spirits are put to flight. If we ask ourselves how to hunt down these unclean spirits, simply some medication or some therapy will not do. We need God’s unlimited love that no one can resist. Jesus gives his disciples the extraordinary power of love to which even the unclean spirits obey. Jesus exercised this authority towards all and gave it to his disciples, so that they may exercise too throughout the course of history.