Day 156: Jesus Casts Out Demons

Mark 5:1-20 Gerasa was largely pagan territory. The possessed man was not only Gentile but unclean, living among the tombs and a herd of swine. Christ’s mission of redemption  includes everyone, i.e., Jews as well as Gentiles. The expulsion of the demons manifested the reign of God and the ultimate defeat of Satan.

Ch 5:9 My name is Legion: a legion was a regiment of Roman soldiers of approximately 5000 men. Here the term may point to the strength and tenacity of the possession. 

Ch 5:21-43 Christ worked miracles not to satisfy people’s curiosity but to bear witness to his divinity and to strengthen the faith of his followers. By restoring the deceased girl to life, Christ offered a sign and prefigurement of the resurrection of the dead as well as his own Resurrection. The power of faith is especially made manifest in the curing of the woman with the hemorrhage; by touching the hem of his garment, she drew power out of the Lord. God will grant everything we request with faith and trust if it is what is best for our growth in faith and holiness. If God does not grant our request, it is because he has a greater blessing in store for our benefit. (CCC 548, 994, 2616)

Ch 5:23 Lay your hands on her: Christ’s miraculous healings were often attended by signs and gestures. Here, the gesture of the laying on of hands is associated with healing and anointing and is retained today in the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick; it is also a sign of the conferral of the Holy Spirit and is thus used in the Sacraments of Holy Orders and Confirmation. (CCC 699, 1288-1289, 1504, 1597)

Ch 5:25-29 A flow of blood: The woman’s chronic condition caused her and everything she touched to be unclean under the Mosaic Law. This left her unable to participate in public worship. In this case, however, it was precisely by touching Christ’s garment that she was cured and made clean. (CCC 2616)

Ch 5:43 He strictly charged that no one should know this: Jesus’ practice of concealing his identity as the Messiah or the Son of God may have been prompted by his desire to avoid being made an earthly king or to avoid focusing only on physical healing. This practice is sometimes called the “messianic secret.” (CCC 1505)

Ch 6:1-6 Returning to Nazareth, Christ was again rejected. The townsmen knew him as an ordinary resident, a carpenter by trade, and were not ready to accept him as a teacher or rabbi. Until beginning his public ministry at the age of thirty, Christ lived an obscure and unremarkable life, which Scripture summarizes in the briefest of terms (cf. Lk 2:52). We can surmise that Christ worked hard at his trade in Nazareth during these “hidden years” of his life-an endorsement of the value of seeking holiness through our work and the events of everyday life. (CCC 531-534)

Ch 6:3 Is not this the carpenter?: This is the only reference in the Gospel to Christ’s profession. It serves to reinforce that he led an ordinary life in Nazareth.

Son of Mary: It is not clear whether Joseph had already died.

Brother: this refers to any number of male relatives (cf. Mt 12:46-50; Mk 3:31-35); James and Joseph are identified elsewhere as sons of ANOTHER WOMAN named Mary (cf. Mt 13:55; 28:1). (CCC 500)

Ch 6:5-6 Effective prayer requires faith and trust in God. Christ often chided his Apostles for their lack of faith. 

Laid his hands: Christ frequently healed people by the touch of his hand. The laying on of hands signifies the work of the Holy Spirit and it remains a powerful sign used in the Sacraments today. (CCC 699, 2610)

Ch 6:6-13 The Twelve Apostles were sent forth to teach and preach the Gospel, heal the sick, and exorcise demons in the name of Christ. By inviting the Apostles to share in his mission, he was preparing them for their future role in the Church and the commission he would give them before his Ascension-a clear extension and continuation of his own mission. To fulfill their mission, the Apostles were given the authority of Christ and were to act in his name. (CCC 765, 1506, 1673)

Ch 6:13 Anointed with oil...and healed them: Oil was used in Scripture for the anointing of kings and priests as well as in healing. Oil continues to be used in the Sacraments of the Church today in several ways. It signifies cleansing and strengthening when used in the anointing of catechumens preparing for Baptism; it signifies healing and consolation in the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick; and it signifies consecration to a sacred mission in the Sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation, and Holy Orders. In all instances, it indicates the presence and activity of the Holy Spirit, which is symbolized by the anointing with oil. (CCC 1183, 1241-1242, 1294, 1506, 1511, 1574)

Ch 6:14-16 Who is Jesus Christ? This is the key question for all people of all times. Christians believe he is God the Son, Second Person of the Blessed Trinity made visible by taking on a human nature. (CCC 461-469)

Ch 6:17-29 John the Baptist, the precursor of Christ, had fulfilled his mission, and Mark told the story of his martyrdom. Christ equated John with the prophet Elijah who was predicted to return (cf. Mt 14:3-12). (CCC 523)

Ch 6:30-44 As in the other Gospel accounts, Christ’s miraculous feeding of the crowds with a few loaves and fishes recalls the miraculous feedings of the Old Testament (e.g., the manna in the desert) and anticipates the Sacrament of the Eucharist, which will feed an unlimited number of people. His teaching of the crowds followed by the miraculous distribution of the loaves and fish is reminiscent of the Liturgy of the Word and the Liturgy of the Eucharist, the basic elements of the Mass (!!!). Furthermore, it connects the spiritual nourishment of the Word followed by the sacramental nourishment of the Bread of Life. Gathering in one place to listen to the Word and take part in a sacred meal is representative of the new People of God. It is worth noting Christ used Eucharistic language in the multiplication of the loaves, i.e. “looked up to heaven, and blessed, and broke...and gave” (verse 41), and that he distributed the loaves THROUGH HIS APOSTLES. (CCC 1335)

Ch 6:34 Sheep without a shepherd: This image was used in the Old Testament to describe the lack of spiritual leadership in Israel (cf. Nm 27:17; Jer 23:1-3) and the promised Messiah who would shepherd his people (cf. Ez 34:23). It also calls to mind the parable of Christ as the Good Shepherd (cf. Jn 10:11-16) and Christ’s instruction to go out to the “lost sheep” of Israel (cf. Mt 10:6). (CCC 754, 1586)

Ch 6:45-56 On the mountain to pray: Christ often sought out times and places for private prayer. The faith of the disciples failed them again as they did not fully recognize Christ as he walked on the water and calmed the stiff wind. They still had to grow in giving him their complete trust. 

Their hearts were hardened: The disciples still did not have complete confidence in the Lord’s power. Their faith would mature after they received the full infusion of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. (CCC 2602)

Ch 6:56 Christ often used physical signs when he healed someone. These actions using material elements prefigure the Sacraments, whose outward signs occasion and cause a spiritual effect. (CCC 1504)

Psalm 21 Identification of the exercise of kingly authority with divine intervention was common among many cultures in biblical times. People looked upon their rulers as special individuals endowed with divine attributes and, therefore, subject to worship. For Israel, the king was seen as a “son of God,” not in the literal sense, but as one who enjoyed a special relationship with the Lord. He was blessed and anointed by the Lord so that he might rule as God himself would, with justice and righteousness. To the extent that the king conscientiously followed the way of the Lord, he reflected the very light of God among his people on earth. (Cf. St. John Paul II, General Audience, March 17, 2004)

The king trusts in the Lord: In this hymn of thanksgiving, a sequel to Psalm 20, the strength and wisdom of the king rested in his trust in God’s love and mercy. (CCC 1283)

(*The Didache Bible RSV-CE Ignatius Edition, 2006)

Prayer by Fr. Mike: “Father in Heaven we give you praise and we exalt your name. We do sing and praise your power and be exalted, Lord, in your strength, in your goodness, in your holiness. Because you have revealed your deepest character. Your character is that you love us. Your character is that you are love. You don’t just love us, God, you are love. And Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, you are an eternal exchange of love. Father, you so loved the world, once again we are reminded, you so loved the world that you gave your only begotten son so that all who believed in him might not perish but might have eternal life. You set us free. You set us free from slavery to sin and slavery to Satan, the evil one. Help us to live in that freedom. Help us to live in your love. And help us to receive the grace of your redemption that you offer to us. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.”

Dustin's Insights 

Mk. 6:

My Study Color Code

Suffering, Martyrdom Places The Church, Sacraments, Divinity Horticultural Imagery People Messianic Kingship Sin, Death, Decay