The Gospel today is short and blunt. Mark does not ever really couch his writings in poetry or prose. He gets to the point, and often abruptly. In the first chapter, Jesus enters the synagogue and begins to teach, astounding the crowd with his wisdom and authority. A man with an unclean spirit recognizes the holiness and power that Christ possesses and names it. Jesus rebukes the unclean spirit and calls him out of the man to the amazement of those present. Even evil spirits obey this teacher.
Many of us have unclean spirits of sorts within us. They are the things that bind us and prevent us from living a free life. These are our addictions, the unhealthy parts of us that are not yet ready to change, and anything that we are not yet ready to give up. In Ignatian terms, these are our disordered attachments that allow us from living out the life for which we were created. We may indeed fear that Christ has come to destroy these as we desperately try to hide them. We know that the things that keep us from Christ know that he is the Holy One of God. They tempt us to run the other way, persuade us to pursue non-life giving opportunities, and shackle us to sin. Sometimes these behaviours even welcome evil spirits into our temples without us even knowing they have taken up residence. The Examen helps us to be vigilant about the daily choices we make.
Jesus has authority over our lives. May we always allow Christ to rebuke what is not of God in our lives and call it out of us. May we learn to be alert to all that will keep us from this Teacher.