4th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year B) - 28 January

28th January 2024
“God never refuses grace to those who honestly ask for it … for He loves us, not because of the way we are, but because of what we can be through His grace.” - Ven. Fulton J Sheen
A reflection on today's Gospel by Pope Benedict XVI:
"This Sunday’s Gospel (Mk 1:21-28) presents to us Jesus, who was preaching on the Sabbath in the Synagogue of Capernaum, the little town on the Sea of Galilee where Peter and his brother Andrew lived. His teaching, which gave rise to wonder among the people, was followed by the deliverance of 'a man with an unclean spirit' (v. 23), who recognised Jesus as 'the Holy One of God', that is, the Messiah. In a short time his fame spread across the region which he passed through proclaiming the Kingdom of God and healing the sick of every kind: words and action.
"The words Jesus addresses to the people immediately give access to the will of the Father and to the truth about themselves. This was not the case for the scribes who instead had to make an effort to interpret the Sacred Scriptures with countless reflections. Moreover Jesus united the efficacy of the word with the efficacy of the signs of deliverance from evil. St Athanasius notes that 'for his charging evil spirits and their being driven forth, this deed is not of man, but of God'; indeed the Lord 'drove away from men all diseases and infirmities' .… Those 'who saw his power… will no longer doubt whether this be the Son and Wisdom and Power of God?' (Oratio de Incarnatione Verbi 18,19: PG 25, 128 BC. 129 B).
"The divine authority is not a force of nature. It is the power of the love of God that creates the universe and, becoming incarnate in the Only-Begotten Son, descending into our humanity, heals the world corrupted by sin. Romano Guardini wrote: 'Jesus’ entire existence is the translation of power into humility… here is the sovereignty which lowers itself into the form of a servant' (Il Potere, Brescia 1999, 141-142).
"Authority, for human beings, often means possession, power, dominion and success. Instead for God authority means service, humility and love; it means entering into the logic of Jesus who stoops to wash his disciples’ feet (cf. Jn 13:5), who seeks man’s true good, who heals wounds, who is capable of a love so great that he gives his life, because he is Love. In one of her Letters St. Catherine of Siena wrote: 'It is necessary for us to see and know, in truth, with the light of the faith, that God is supreme and eternal Love and cannot want anything but our good' (Ep. 13 in: Le Lettere, vol. 3, Bologna 1999, 206).
"A unique characteristic of this Gospel is what is called the 'messianic secret': namely, the fact that, for the moment, Jesus does not want it to be known outside the small group of his disciples that he is the Christ, the Son of God. Moreover, at this point he warns both the Apostles and the sick whom he heals not to reveal his identity to anyone. For example, [we have] a man possessed by the devil who suddenly shouts: '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'. And Jesus commands the spirit: 'Quiet! Come out of him!'. And immediately the Evangelist notes the unclean spirit, with excruciating cries, came out of that man. Jesus not only drives demons out of people, freeing them from the worst slavery, but prevents the demons themselves from revealing his identity. And he insists on this 'secret' because what is at stake is the success of his very mission, on which our salvation depends. Indeed, he knows that to liberate humanity from the dominion of sin he will have to be sacrificed on the Cross as the true Paschal Lamb. The devil, for his part, seeks to dissuade him so as to divert him instead toward the human logic of a powerful and successful Messiah. The Cross of Christ will be the devil’s ruin, and this is why Jesus always taught his disciples that in order to enter into his glory he must suffer much, he must be rejected, condemned and crucified (cf. Lk 24: 26), for suffering is an integral part of his mission." (Extracts from Pope Benedict XVI’s Angelus Address 9 January 2012 and 1 February 2009)
Prayer Against Every Evil
Holy Father, omnipotent and merciful God, in the name of Jesus Christ and through the intercession of the Virgin Mary, send Your Holy Spirit upon me; may the Spirit of the Lord descend upon me, mold me, form me, fill me, hear me, use me, heal me, cast out from me all the forces of evil, annihilate them, destroy them, so that I may be well and do good.
Cast out from me all the spells, sorcery, black magic, black masses, evil eye, ties, curses; diabolical infestation, diabolical possession, diabolical obsession; all that is evil and sinful, envy, jealousy, perfidy, discord, impurity, infatuation; physical, psychic, moral, spiritual, and diabolic illnesses.
Burn all of these evils in hell, so that they will never again touch me or any other creature in the world. In the name of Jesus Christ our Savior, through the intercession of the Immaculate Virgin Mary, I order and command all unclean spirits, all the presences that molest me, to leave me immediately, to leave me definitely, and, chained by St. Michael the Archangel, by St. Gabriel, by St. Raphael, by my guardian angel, crushed under the heel of the Most Holy Immaculate Virgin, to go into the eternal abyss. Give me, O Father, much faith, joy, health, peace, and all the graces that I need. Lord Jesus, may Your most Precious Blood be upon me. Amen. 🙏💖💐
Food for thought
Each day we are in a spiritual battle against the evil forces of the devil. He and the fallen angels launch a constant attack to separate us from God. We must be vigilant against these attacks, snares and temptations. When tempted, don’t be discouraged. Turn in fervent prayer to God, Who, in His infinite goodness and compassion, will help us. Safeguard your soul by being strong in God’s grace through frequent reception of the sacraments of penance and holy communion. Strengthen your soul through prayer and fasting. And never lose trust in the infinite mercy of God. We are all His children, and He wants us to be with Him for all eternity.