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Luke 4:31-37

The Word of God

Jesus went down to Capernaum, a city in Galilee, and was teaching them on the sabbath. They were astounded at his teaching, because he spoke with authority. In the synagogue there was a man who had the spirit of an unclean demon, and he cried out with a loud voice, "Let us alone! 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." But Jesus rebuked him, saying, "Be silent, and come out of him!" When the demon had thrown him down before them, he came out of him without having done him any harm. They were all amazed and kept saying to one another, "What kind of utterance is this? For with authority and power he commands the unclean spirits, and out they come!" And a report about him began to reach every place in the region.

Luke 4:31-37
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    • When was the last time somebody made a deep impression on me? What did I do in consequence, how have I grown? I give thanks to God for those who have spoken or acted with authority, bringing truth or meaning to my life.
    • The evil spirit knew its opposite and saw that it’s time was up; I pray that my presence and values may create a space for good where God’s positive Spirit is present and evident.
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    • We read the Gospels in order to grow in our understanding of Jesus. We read the stories about the effect Jesus had on people. He spoke with authority which means that people heard him and realised that what he said was touching their hearts. He also showed his authority by the lovely way he cured the blind, deaf and dumb, and also those who were disturbed in mind.
    • In today’s text we have an example of these two forms of authority in the visit of Jesus to the synagogue. By reading this passage today ask Jesus for the grace of letting his teaching touch our hearts, and for the gift of bringing to Him our needs, worries and troubles that are part of life. Let his peace touch you where you need it. ‘Most Sacred Heart of Jesus I place all my trust in You’.
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    • The people are impressed because Jesus speaks with authority, the authority of his personal integrity and charisma. Often we run the risk of separating the message from his person, reducing it to a mere moral code. I ask to be given the grace to listen to Him, to let myself be touched by his authority.
    • The Gospels do not shy away from presenting the opposition Jesus had to face whenever he expelled demons. It is no wonder we too find our struggles with evil so difficult. I pray for trust in the power of Jesus even in the face of the strongest opposition. I recall that he is sharing this power with me.
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    • The man possessed claims to know who Jesus really is “the Holy One of God”. But Jesus deals with the evil spirit without delay. Is he ensuring that the wrong interpretation of him doesn’t spread? His actions certainly leave people wondering.
    • What is clear to all, whatever the evil spirits utter about him, is that he has power and authority. They were impressed by how he intervened in these difficult cases.
    • Can you think of a moment when with speed and prudence you intervened to put a situation right?
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    • Lord, the people were astounded at hearing you. Let me too be amazed by your words, especially when you reveal the goodness of your Father towards me. Jolt me from my dullness. Let me experience your disturbing freshness, your vision of how we should live. May your promises of eternal life give me energy and joy, no matter how difficult my life may be right now.
    • The demons of the possessed man were screaming, ‘Let us alone!’ but I beg you not to let me alone! Stay with me so that I may live out my life in love before you.
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    • They say you can get used to anything; could it be that I am so used to Jesus and his ways that I no longer remark on them or consider how they challenge me? The people of Jesus’ time were astonished and surprised. His teachings stood in stark contrast, not only to the unclean spirits, but also to the good and established teachers. Help me, Jesus, to hear your voice and to accept your authority as you seek to lead me to life.
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    • Demons? Is this just an old story, or are my own demons alive and well? Am I resistant to God’s help in fighting them? I ask: ‘What have you to do with me, Jesus of Nazareth?’
    • Lord, may I acknowledge my demons And let you invade my poverty with the authority of your powerful compassion and healing.
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    • The Nazareth sermon is put into practice here in Capernaum. Unlike the rabbis of his day who must look outside themselves for validation, Jesus carries his authority within himself. He is the expert: people recognise this and are amazed and astounded!
    • Liberation comes to a man possessed of a demon. The spirit of evil retreats from the spirit of good in Jesus. Lord, may my daily encounter with you in Sacred Space enable me to speak with a power and authority that is rooted in your living word.
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    • The spirit that was not of God cried out, “Let us alone." The message of Jesus may often disturb and unsettle. I pray that I may receive more fully now, in this time of prayer, strength from the Spirit of Jesus and not settle for other meaner spirits that promise me comfort.
    • The authority of Jesus is unlike any other; it is not coercive or forceful but calls to my heart. This time of prayer is the time for my heart to speak to his heart, and for me to acknowledge the authority I give him.
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    • Because of his authority as the "Holy One of God", all evil is ultimately powerless before Jesus. Can I bring the evil that I confront in my life - and in our world - before him? How do I feel when I consider these things? Confidence in God? Doubt and fear? Perhaps I should talk this over with Jesus.
    • Jesus seems to live within a world of hostility; political and family divisions as well as the conflict of good and evil were the context of his life. Somehow he transcends but is involved in the conflicts. He seems to face conflict head-on. He does so, not only with the power of his own personality, but with the power of his Father so that he can command evil and it flees. Some of our evils can be dealt with only through prayer in the power of the risen Lord.
    • The healing and quietening of the tormented people gave Jesus a huge reputation in his ministry. What we might today put down to mental or psychological imbalance was seen then as a sign of demons and unclean spirits. Whatever our understanding, the same Jesus today can heal the fears, anxieties and worries of every day.