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  • Sarah Beth Dippel

THE DEMONS TREMBLE IN HIS PRESENCE

WEDNESDAY OF THE THIRTEENTH WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME




There were these two savage demoniacs . . . this is not the beginning of my bad joke for the day; it is the beginning of today's Gospel reading. Jesus comes upon two demons. We are told they are so savage that people will no longer use the road for fear of them. The demons cried out to Jesus, "What have you to do with us, Son of God? Have you come here to torment us before the appointed time?" (Matthew 8:29) Did you notice it? It very subtle what Matthew is showing us. The demons know that Jesus is the Son of God and acknowledge Him as having power over them.


Let's say that again, the demons know that Jesus is the Son of God, and they acknowledge Him as having power over them. Their response to His presence is: Behold it is the Son of God, but what have you to do with us? They know that he is the Savior but not their Savior. His blood will not be shed for their salvation. The demons admit that they are no match for Jesus, a divine person, possessing almighty power; at whose presence they tremble, and whose commands they must obey. While the people feared meeting the two demons on the road, the demons trembled when they encountered Christ.


The devil and his legion of fallen angels recognize the presence of Christ. When we feel evil pressing into our lives, when we speak out in anger, when we fall into habitual sin, when we are selfish or uncharitable, all of these are gateways for the devil to have power over us. We need not fear the devil and his temptations if we also recognize the almighty, divine power of Christ. To banish these demons that wish to torment and tempt us, we need to humbly call upon Christ.


We should not confront a demon; this would only lead to pride. Instead, the Church teaches us to pray this simple prayer with humility and trust in Christ: "I command you, all evil spirits, to leave me at once in the name of Jesus Christ the Lord."


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