A couple of things stood out for me in today’s gospel. First, Jesus leads us by example in seeking out a deserted place to recharge and reconnect with the Father (not that the two are ever disconnected). If Jesus needed to step away from the demands of this world for a time, how much more do we need to do the same? God never leaves our sides. It is us who leave Him – not intentionally -we simply get wrapped up in the things and concerns of this life. There are several ways to reconnect with God:
Reading scripture – His word, taking a walk in the woods, baking something from scratch and enjoying the feel of the ingredients and the aromas, going to the adoration chapel, going on a walk either in the city or country and looking for beautiful things, holding a child’s sweet little hand in your own, going to mass, listening to praise and worship music, praying a rosary and really meditating on the mysteries, reading a spiritually uplifting/inspiring book, writing a poem about God/faith, burning a candle and watching the flame dance while you think of God, looking at religious artwork… I’m sure you can think of more!
The second thing that got my attention was that the word “demon” was said three times in the reading from Mark. Jesus sure seems to be driving out a lot of demons in this past couple of week’s gospels. Were there more possessions back then, or did people mistake mental illness for possession? It actually said that the demons knew Him (Jesus). This states clearly that the evil spirits had really taken up residence in people’s bodies. Were there that many more demonic possessions back in Jesus time than there are now – or is our world so messed up that we don’t recognize the devil when we see him? Did you know that each archdiocese in the U.S. has a priest assigned the role of “exorcist?” I wonder how many people actually pay the local exorcist a visit.
When participating in the Louisiana March for Life in January, we saw someone holding a sign advertising a Satanic temple. He looked rather normal. I guess that is what was most unsettling about the whole thing. If I had seen him in the check out line at a grocery store, I wouldn’t have taken him for a devil worshiper. It is important that we are on guard against the forces of evil and that we use everything we have at our disposal to shield ourselves – consecration to Mary, consecration to the Sacred Heart, the St. Michael prayer, house blessings, holy water, sacraments and sacramentals…