19 February 2007


Monday of the 7th Week in Ordinary Time
Mark 9: 14-29

When the disciples were unable to cast out the deaf and dumb spirit from the boy, they asked Jesus, “Why could we not drive this one out?” Jesus said to them, “This kind can only come out through prayer and fasting.” The answer of Jesus is rather intriguing, is it not?

First, the answer of Jesus implies that evil spirits come in shapes and sizes. There are various kinds of unclean spirit. If we are vigilant, sensitive, and reflective, we know that, besides the evil of not being listened to and not being allowed to speak, not being seen as a human being and not being recognized as a child of God are but another two of the many types of evil in the world.

Second, the response of Jesus also implies that prayer and fasting are not the only means to cast out evil spirits. What then are the other means to expel unclean spirits? I really do not know. But certainly, the best is by loving. True love conquers all evil.

Third and, perhaps, the most intriguing, when Jesus said, “This kind can only come out through prayer and fasting,” He seemed to imply that those who try to drive out evil spirits are not always praying and fasting. Or, at least, those who appear to be praying and fasting they are necessarily prayerful and sacrificial. Let us not speculate on others; let us look instead on our selves.

One thing is certain though: what seems to be so impossible can be made possible through prayer and fasting. Last week, a celebrity friend emailed me from San Francisco. She was asking for prayers for her family that was currently going through very hard times. She herself was praying hard – going to Mass and offering rosaries – for the speedy and happy resolution of the crisis. A final note struck me: “Tomorrow,” she wrote, “I will also begin my fasting.” I was struck because I had the impression that fasting was not a very attractive form of mortification nowadays, most especially for celebrities. To my chagrin, I was very wrong.

Prayer and fasting are never outmoded. During the earthly life of Jesus, they were already effective means to conquer evil. They continue to be so even today. Through prayer, closed minds open, cold hearts ignite and stubborn spirits obey. Through fasting or other forms of self-denial, wild minds are tamed, impure hearts are cleansed and enslaved spirits are freed. Through prayer and sacrifice, sick minds are made whole, wounded hearts are healed and evil spirits are cast out.

Evil exists. It continues to manipulate people. Demonic possessions are true. They continue to enslave people. Prayer always works. Fasting continues to set people free. But it is love that gives prayer and sacrifice the power they need to kick a demon out of anyone. Thus, remember to put love in your prayer and sacrifice in your love each day.


At 8:11 PM , Anonymous Bubut said...

Father God, Lent is near, prayers and fasting will be started with Wednesday. May we be able to pray and fast more as we surrender to you our sins. Help us to become more closer to you as the Lenten season opens.

God bless po..


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