Jesus returns to Capernaum, his hometown, and enters the synagogue there, where he grew up. He probably knew everyone in the room, and they probably all knew him.
In this holy building, and during this holy time of Sabbath worship, a man with a demon cries out.
This manifestation of evil arises not in some dark alleyway, or during some nefarious gathering.
The people of God have come to pray, search the scriptures, and worship.
In the midst of all that is good and holy, evil rears its ugly head.
Here, still in the opening chapter of Mark’s Gospel we find the struggle between good and evil bubbling to the surface and taking center stage.
Jesus casts the evil out, but not before it breaks into this holy gathering.
The struggle between good and evil does not reside in ancient lands, and in ancient times. We see it play out in our own land and in our own time.
We see people suffer.
We see communities seized by terror.
We hear the drumbeat of war.
We watch people be dehumanized.
We see hatred, and prejudice, and denigration every day.
Examine your world. Where do you identify evil that needs cast out?
And, like this man possessed in Jesus’ synagogue, we too have the seeds of evil inside each of us.
We do not always do what is right.
We do not always say what is right.
We fail God, we fail our friends and neighbors, and we fail ourselves.
Examine yourself. Where do you find evil that needs cast out?
Invite Jesus to fill the places of evil with his presence. The places in the world, and the places within you.
Invite Jesus to cast our hatred and fear, and fill us all with faith, hope, and love.
And now us pray the prayer Jesus taught us… Our Father.