Meditation and Questions for Reflection or Group Discussion
(Deuteronomy 18:15-20; Psalm 95:1-2,6-9; 1 Corinthians 7:32-35; Mark 1:21-28)
Being Alert to the Attacks of the Evil One
“Quiet!” (Mark 1:25)
Today’s Gospel warns us to be on guard because evil spirits are constantly at work tempting us and harassing us. This warning is even more urgent today, as the world has practically dismissed the reality of evil spirits.
Evil spirits are always on the prowl. They whisper lies and half-truths to us and try to confuse us. They try to influence us to do things we know are wrong—even things we don’t want to do. We have all felt their influence at different times. We know how they have tried to sow division, to make us fearful, to get us down on ourselves, to lie, to manipulate people, or to doubt God’s love.
Yes, we have a free will. Yes, we make the final choices for our lives. But these choices are never made in isolation. They are always influenced by the people around us, by the media, by the Holy Spirit, and by Satan.
All this may sound intimidating, but we shouldn’t be afraid. Jesus overcame one evil spirit in today’s Gospel, and he overcame them all on the cross. We just have to be more alert to what is coming into our minds, especially more alert to the devil’s tactics.
Another thing we can do is begin every day by praying for protection against evil spirits. All we have to do is say the words that Jesus taught us: “Father, lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.”
Finally, we should believe in the power of the name of Jesus. Scripture tells us how St. Paul, in dealing with an evil spirit that was harassing a woman, commanded: “I command you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her.” And the spirit left immediately (Acts 16:18). Likewise, we need to call on the name of Jesus throughout the day, especially when we are feeling tempted or harassed.
“In the name of Jesus, I command all evil spirits to be quiet and to depart from me and from every member of my family. Lord, deliver us from the lies of the evil one and help us to be ever more alert.”
Sunday, January 29, 2012
Questions for Reflection/Discussion
- In the reading from Deuteronomy, God tells the people of Israel that he will raise up a prophet from among them. He goes on to warn them with these words, “Whoever will not listen to my words which he speaks in my name, I myself will make him answer for it.” We know that this passage was ultimately fulfilled in the coming of Jesus. How seriously do you take the words of Jesus when they require you to do something, or give up something, you don’t want to. What are some of the excuses you make for not doing what you know the Lord is asking of you? How can you overcome these excuses?
- The responsorial psalm continues the theme of the first reading by exhorting us to hear the voice of the Lord and warning us not to harden our hearts. How would you describe the obstacles in your life that can harden your heart from following the Lord?
- Although St. Paul tells us in the second reading to be “free of anxieties,” he also tells us to be “anxious for the things of the Lord.” What are the “things of the Lord” that should make you “anxious” to please him?
- In the Gospel, Jesus not only taught with authority, but he also healed and delivered the man with an unclean spirit with that same authority. The reaction to Jesus was that the people were “amazed”. Were you ever “amazed” by Jesus’ healing touch on your life or on someone else? What was it that amazed you?
- To help in our battle against the attacks of the Evil One, the meditation recommends that we “begin every day by praying for protection against evil spirits. All we have to do is say the words that Jesus taught us: ‘Father, lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.’” Are you willing to try this? If not, why not? What do you expect the results to be?
- Take some time now to pray against any evil spirits that may be coming against you. Use the prayer at the end of the meditation as the starting point.