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The cure of a demoniac

Gospel Reading: Lk 4:31-37
Jesus went down to Capernaum, a town of Galilee. He taught them on the Sabbath, and they were astonished at his teaching because he spoke with authority. In the synagogue there was a man with the spirit of an unclean demon, and he cried out in a loud voice, “Ha! What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are – the Holy One of God!” Jesus rebuked him and said, “Be quiet! Come out of him!” Then the demon threw the man down in front of them and came out of him without doing him any harm. They were all amazed and said to one another, “What is there about his word? For with authority and power he commands the unclean spirits, and they come out.” And news of him spread everywhere in the surrounding region.

The Gospel tells of the effectiveness of Jesus’ “authority” over demons. If we pay attention to the vocabulary, Luke uses expressions that clearly refer to an exorcism. Furthermore, the “unclean spirit” (i.e., demon) speaks to Jesus through the demoniac and calls Jesus “the Holy One of God,” something a merely deranged person never does. Finally, Jesus addresses the demon, thus obviously treating him as an entity distinct from the victim. He speaks harshly to the entity, rebukes him, and says, “Be quiet! Come out of him!”

These words of Jesus are entirely different from some actions of healing he administers to the sick brought to him. Thus, everything in this narrative points to an exorcism, not to a mere healing. The story of the cure of the demoniac is a relevant case concerning miracles of Jesus in the two areas of healing and exorcism. Other gospel texts present many instances of pure healings with no reference to the demonic, some other situations of pure exorcism with no mention of physical illness (as the Gospel shows us), and still other occasions of mixed healing where demonic possession is coupled with a disease (physical or mental).

“A great prophet has arisen in our midst” (Lk 7:16), powerful not only in words but also in deeds.

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SOURCE: “366 Days with the Lord 2016,” ST. PAULS Philippines, 7708 St. Paul Rd., SAV, Makati City (Phils.); Tel.: 895-9701; Fax 895-7328; E-mail: books@stpauls.ph; Website: http://www.stpauls.ph.