February 8, 2015 - 5th Sunday in Ordinary Time

posted Feb 3, 2015, 5:44 PM by Domain Admin   [ updated May 7, 2016, 10:29 PM ]

Gospel of Mark 1: 29-39

Chris’ Reflection

In this Sunday’s Gospel Jesus goes to a house and heals Simon’s mother-in-law. Afterwards he goes to a synagogue and draws the attention of many people in town. There were people who were ill and others who were “possessed by demons.” He heals all of them and reveals to his disciples that his purpose is to go around healing as many people as he can.

There was one part of the Gospel that initially confused me. After Jesus drives out the demons he doesn't let them talk “because they knew him.” Why would he know these demons? Why does he silence them? I looked online for some explanations. I read explanations about how this shows Jesus has power over all things, including these demons. Another explanation was that the demons might reveal who Jesus was and Jesus didn't want people to know exactly who he was yet. When I first read this passage, I thought about something a little different.

Jesus healed a lot of people and they all had different “demons” inside them. It reminded me that we all walk around with our own demons, sometimes we reference them as the “crosses we bear.” For me, one of those demons is about keeping appearances. I often feel pressured to be a strong and calming presence because other people are counting on me. It’s a pressure I often put on myself, even if others don’t ask for it. Whether it’s with family, friends, and especially my students, I need to reassure them that they can trust my guidance. Even if I may doubt myself, I don’t want them to see it. In a way, that’s a demon that I deal with.

Even though we all have demons and it feels like we deal with them on our own, that’s not true. Jesus knows our pain and our struggle just like he knew all those demons he drove out. He knows our pain because he is fully God and fully human. His godliness lets him know all things and his humanity lets him experience all things as well. There were many times when Jesus had to be strong for others and give them confidence when they turned to him. I’m sure he felt fear, nervousness, and doubt while so many looked to him for guidance too.

When Jesus doubted himself, he turned to God and prayed. That’s something I constantly have to remind myself to do as well. God gives us challenges in life, but it’s us that turn them into demons. We have to keep faith that things will be ok, turn bad into good and turn to God when we can’t do that on our own.

Tine’s Reflection

As I was reading this Sunday's Gospel, a line that stood out to me was "they brought to him all who were ill or possessed by demons." I was confused as to why they would bring him both sick people and those possessed by demons. It seems like two very different, unrelated things. One has to do with those who were sick, while one deals with a negative presence in life. I didn't see how they connected. I didn't understand why Jesus would call upon those who were dealing with two very different things at the same time.

I started thinking about the word "demon" and I realized there are a lot of inner demons people deal with in every day life. I thought about depression, anxiety, schizophrenia, mental heath issues, substance abuse, and a plethora of other demons that people are plagued with. These inner demons are illnesses that people confront every day. At times, we don't even realize those around us are suffering. I started thinking about celebrities we see in the news. Brittany Spears suffered from poor mental health, which led to a very public breakdown. Michael Phelps suffered from attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), which caused him to do poorly in school. Drew Barrymore also had bipolar disorder, suffered from panic attacks and has battled alcohol and drug addiction. Amanda Bynes was recently diagnosed with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder after bizarre behavior put her in the spotlight. Most recently, Robin Williams battled depression and lost his life because of it. These are all demons that these very public people dealt with in the spotlight. People have mocked or made fun of the antics Brittany Spears or Amanda Bynes played out in front of cameras, but the reality of the situation is it is no laughing matter. All of these people (and more) need help.

After rereading the gospel a quite a few times, I see that there is a connection between the sick and those possessed by demons. To me, both are illnesses that people need help recovering from. If you don't feel well, you have your parents call you in sick or take you to the doctor. When your body feels weak or out of whack, you usually slow down to take care of it. You take naps, take medicine, eat soup, and drink liquids. You basically take care of yourself to the best of your ability. The same should go for your mind. I have seen people deal with depression. I have seen people deal with substance abuse. I have seen people deal with bodily mutilation and contemplate suicide. These are inner demons that are illnesses as well. Jesus went into Galilee and drove out the demons, so if you or someone you know suffers from these inner demons, do you best to help them be rid of those demons too. Finding help for sickness in the mind is just as important as curing sickness in your bodies. Get them help. Give them support. Talk to someone you trust. In the end, whether your body or mind are sick, Jesus is there, ready to care for those who are in need of His healing powers and saving grace... but we can also be like Jesus and support them with love and care too.