One of Satan’s most effective weapons in the modern age is that while the culture is utterly fascinated with witchcraft, dark magic, occult practices, and gnosticism, many Christians—perhaps even the majority, according to a Barna Survey—are reluctant to admit any kind of belief in a person who is Evil incarnate and who works tirelessly for our eternal damnation.
That’s kind of a problem.
Pope Francis is frequently found reminding the faithful that the Devil is real, that there is an enemy force at work in our world whose sole fixation and raison d’etre is to drag us to Hell to suffer the rejection of God’s will alongside Him for all eternity. This “quirk” of the current papacy doesn’t get much airtime, and understandably so. It doesn’t fit the media’s hip, relevant narrative of Francis, plus, nobody really believes in ole red legs in a literal sense, I mean, come on.
But Jesus did.
“Quiet! Come out of him!” commands the Lord in today’s Gospel. (Mark 1:25) He is addressing a personal being, cutting through any possible ambiguity as to what it is that troubles the poor man before him.
Nobody can accuse Jesus, who heals Simon’s mother-in-law of her fever and calls out “Talitha cum” to the little girl who lies captive in the sleep of death, of tending to “over spiritualize” matters. He is the Word incarnate, and His fleshly, human nature is like ours in all things but sin. But neither did Our Lord shy away from looking Evil in the face, rebuking it not as mere allegory for all that is imperfect in the world, but as a personal, particular force to be reckoned with.
Come out of him!
We have an enemy. But we have a Savior who is infinitely more powerful. In Jesus’ name, give us the confidence to put on the full armor of Christ and the wisdom to call upon that power when we are confronted with the demons—actual and metaphorical—in our own lives.
Pray for the Lord to hold you close when you feel temptation overwhelming you. He is always, always on your side.
Jenny Uebbing is a freelance writer and editor for Catholic News Agency. She lives in Denver, Colorado with her husband Dave and their small army of toddlers. You can find out more about her faith, thoughts on bioethics, and potty training failures here.