1 Peter 5:5-14; Psalm 89; Mark 16:15-20
We celebrate the feast of St Mark. Mark is the writer of the Second Book of the New Testament. He was thought to be the interpreter and secretary of Peter which is why his version of the Gospel may be treated as Peter’s version. This could explain why his version is quite harsh in how they portray the Apostles. The Gospel reading today shows the commissioning of Jesus to the Eleven. This detail tells us Jesus entrusted the proclamation of the Gospel to the Eleven Apostles. This tells us that despite the faults and frailties of the Apostles, Jesus still trusted them to remain faithful to his message! Jesus trusted the Apostles will proclaim the Gospel to all creation and perform the signs that Jesus promised will accompany them. Mark ends his Gospel with and the eleven went out and proclaimed the good news everywhere, while the Lord worked with them and confirmed the message by the signs that accompanied it. This shows that when we are faithful to what God wants us to do, God is faithful to fulfill what he promised.
When we look at the promise of Jesus about the signs to those who believe, we see he gave them dominion over demons, the ability to speak new languages, to be unharmed in the midst of danger and the ability to heal. When we believe in the Gospel message, we too will do these signs. As a warning, by our baptism, we have authority over demons in our lives. This does not mean we can confront demons on our own. We have dominion only over our properties, our families and our lives. Only the Bishop has full authority over demons in his diocese so we should not go around casting demons out of others.
These signs Jesus promised are signs of the life God wants to give us: a life of freedom and of wholeness. Peter, in the First Reading, reminds us how we can live this life: cast all your anxiety on him, because he cares for you. The word cast means to throw without a care. When we are troubled or worried, we throw them to God because he cares for us. Peter also warns us to resist the devil even as he prowls like a roaring lion. We do not play games with the devil. Which is why I have repeated warned people about playing with the occult like ouija boards, fortune telling, etc. A baptized person cannot be possessed by the devil, unless the devil finds a door way into that person. The occult is one of the more common ways that open a door way for the devil.
Peter calls us to resist the devil by being steadfast in our faith. When we play with the occult, we are saying that God’s power is not enough, that there are powers greater than the power of God. This is worshiping other gods. The Psalm today asks: for who in the skies can be compared to the Lord? Who among the heavenly beings is like the Lord? The answer is no one. Which is why we need to get rid of our superstitious beliefs.
The Resurrection of Jesus proves, death has no power over him, that there is no power greater than the power of God. If you are involved in the occult, turn your life to the Lord. Admit your sin and surrender your life to the Lord. When you do that, the devil will fight back. But Peter said, be steadfast in your faith. You will suffer but the God of all grace calls you to HIS eternal glory. He will restore, support, strengthen, and establish you. Turn to Jesus whom Mark and the Catholic Church has consistently preached: a Christ who was crucified, he is the power and the wisdom of God.
Lord, I come to you, wanting a life of freedom. Freedom from sin, from anxieties, from death, from the demons that hound me. In your mercy, forgive me for not trusting you, for turning to fortune tellers, for playing with the occult. And in the mighty name of Jesus, I ask you to close the doors where the demon can enter in my life. Make me new. I reject the occult, I reject my sin, I reject demons that enslave me in my sins. Save me Lord. I trust you.