by José Antonio Pagola (English translation by Rebel Girl)
According to Mark, Jesus' first public act was the healing of a man possessed by an evil spirit in the synagogue at Capernaum. It's a breathtaking scene, one told so that, from the beginning, the readers discover the healing and liberating force of Jesus.
It's the sabbath and the people are gathered in the synagogue to listen to the commentary on the Law explained by the scribes. For the first time, Jesus will proclaim the Good News of God precisely in the place where the religious traditions of Israel are taught to the people officially.
The people are surprised when they hear Him. They have the impression that up until now they had been listening to old news, spoken without authority. Jesus is different. He doesn't repeat what He has heard from others. He speaks with authority. He proclaims a Good God freely and fearlessly.
Suddenly a man "starts to scream 'Have you come to destroy us?'." Listening to Jesus' message, he feels threatened. His religious world is crumbling. We are told that he is possessed by an "evil spirit", hostile to God. What strange forces keep him from continuing to listen to Jesus? What harmful and perverse experiences are blocking his path to the Good God that He is proclaiming?
Jesus doesn't flinch. He sees the poor man oppressed by evil and cries out "Be quiet and come out of him!" He orders those evil voices that don't let him encounter God or himself to be still so that he can regain the silence that heals the deepest part of human beings.
The narrator describes the healing in a dramatic way. In one last effort to destroy him, the spirit "convulsed him and with a loud cry came out of him." Jesus has managed to liberate the man from his inner violence. He has put an end to the darkness and fear of God. From now on, he will be able to hear the Good News of Jesus.
Many people have false images of God inside them that make them live without dignity or truth. They don't feel Him to be a friendly presence who invites them to live creatively, but a menacing shadow that controls their existence. Jesus always begins to heal by freeing people from an oppressor God.
His words encourage trust and dispel fear. His parables draw people to loving God, not to blind submission to the Law. His presence makes freedom grow, not enslavements; He stirs up love for life, not resentment. Jesus heals because He teaches us to live only out of goodness, forgiveness and a love that excludes nobody. He heals because He frees us from the power of things, self-deception and idolatry of the ego.