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Pastoral Visit to Ageo Catholic Church



February 1, 2015; Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Cycle B


FIRST READING: Deuteronomy 18:15-20
SECOND READING: 1 Corinthians 7:32-35
GOSPEL: Mark 1:21-28

From what we learn from the Gospel, we can sum up Jesus’ ministry as follows : “Proclaiming the good news of the Kingdom of God, healing the sick, and exorcising demons”. What most attracts our attention among His ministry may be ‘exorcism’. Jesus peforms exorcisim in today’s Gospel, too. The “unclean spirit” mentioned in the text signifies demons. If the “man with an unclean spirit” were here today, the modern day medicine may diagnose him as suffering from mental illness or mental disorder. However, back then, people believed that mental illnesses were caused by demons. Gospel of Mark today declares that Jesus is the Holy One who has the power to dispel demons. Mark places emphasis on the fact that Jesus is the Saviour who came to liberate mankind from the rule of the evil.

When God created the world, there was no evil, like illness. Illness exists today because there was a “disruption” between God and mankind. The disruption was caused by the Original Sin. The very first sin our first parents Adam and Eve commited is called the Original Sin. We believe that its consequences are affecting the whole mankind. Because of the Original Sin, the mankind fell into the state of sinfulness and lost the sanctifying grace and the right to heaven given to them at Creation. Desires became distorted so that the weakened man could no longer have a perfect control over it. The mankind became slave to ignorance, death and suffering. Jesus came to the world as Saviour to redeem them from the effects of the Fall.

The definition of ‘health’ provided by the World Health Organization (WHO) helps us in pondering what sickness and disability are. “Health is a dynamic state of complete physical, mental, spiritual and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity” . Therefore, health is not static but dynamic; it is a series man’s state. Moreover, ‘health’ also includes the state of ‘spiritual’ well-being. Considering the Bible teachings, I believe the definition became better with the inclusion of this word.

I think the word ‘Shalom (Peace)’ used in the Bible corresponds to this definition of ‘health’. The ‘Shalom (Peace)’ implies the state where the work of Creation is complete. Perhaps, illness signifies just the opposite: the state of disruption. Peace is the state where there is no disruption -- disruption between one and his neighbours, nature and God. Peace is the state where man is redeemed and is emersed in the healing by the Holy Spirit which is from God.

Through the resurrection of the body and the Second Coming of Christ, we will be completely liberated from all evil -- sin and illness. Then, we will partake in Christ’s Body of Resurrection. This will be the time of the ‘new heaven and earth’: the time of completion of the Universe.

A quote from the Book of Wisdom: “God created man for incorruption, and made him in the image of his own eternity, but through the devil’s envy death entered the world, and those who belong to his party experience it.” (Wis 2:23-24) Let us relish the meaning of the passage.



[Scripture quotations are] from The Revised Standard Version of the Bible: Catholic Edition, copyright © 1965, 1966 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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