Heb. 2:5-12
Mark 1:21-28


My gran often said to me, ‘you never would have made a nurse, Angie!’ She was right. I’m not the person you want around in a medical emergency. I go to pieces. I freeze. Once, walking along a street in Sydney after a celebratory lunch, I passed a man having an epileptic seizure while a woman was trying to hold him down on his back. My brain was screaming, ‘turn him on his side! Free his airway!’ But I was rooted to the spot. When Gran had a TIA in front of me, I was that exasperating person blabbering to 000 about her symptoms rather than providing the necessary, ‘ambulance, please.’ Luckily for both the Sydney man and my gran, there were others with me who acted quickly. My husband moved the woman aside and said, ‘I’m a doctor – on his side NOW.’ My cousin, a nurse, whipped the phone out of my hand, ordering me to sit with Gran and keep her talking. In an emergency, a decisive healer is a blessing.

Jesus was such a healer. He was able to assess and understand a situa, then cut straight to the point. Today’s reading in which Jesus is publicly challenged by a possessed man, is one of his first deeds of active ministry. Baptised, tempted for forty days, and having called Simon, Andrew, James and John, he travels to Capernaum where he teaches “with authority” (v.22). When the “unclean spirit” (v.23) recognises the “Holy One of God” (v. 24), Jesus commands it to be quiet and come out! The proclamation of the possessed man does not sound all that bad, however, just as the woman tending the epileptic and the incoherent granddaughter calling 000 were detrimental despite their good intentions, at this stage of Jesus’ ministry, the affirmation was more dangerous than welcome – an impediment to the glorification of God.

May we always recognise and respond appropriately to the changing needs of our brothers and sisters.

Angela Marquis works as a chaplain in a Tasmanian local primary school and with the Passionists at St Joseph’s Hobart Parish. She completed a Master of Theology in 2021 and is currently studying Biblical Hebrew with the Israel Institute. She enjoys rock climbing and long leisurely beach walks with her husband and four-legged daughter.