instruere...inlustrare...delectare Disputations

Monday, February 02, 2015

When is a fact untrue?

In his homily on Sunday's Gospel, the transitional deacon preached about the deceptions of demons. They're so slippery they can't even keep their pronouns straight.
Have you come to destroy us?
I know who you are -- the Holy One of God!
Last year, I went through the Gospel According to St. Mark to categorize all the quotations, and was somewhat surprised to find that, other than God the Father, the demons had by far the best and clearest Christology. It wasn't forced out of them by exorcism, they freely confessed Jesus to be the Holy One of God. If the people had just believed what the demons said, they'd have known Who Jesus Is.

But, as the deacon pointed out, you really shouldn't believe what the demons say. Even if it's true, they aren't saying it for your benefit.

In the case of the man from Capernaum with an unclean spirit, it may be that the spirit was trying to upstage Jesus, or at least throw Him off His game. It interrupts Jesus' teaching, asks the same sort of bogus question the serpent asked in the Garden, and announces the Messianic secret to a congregation wholly unprepared for it.

The people, meanwhile, are amazed at Jesus' authority over unclean spirits, but Mark says nothing about their reaction to the "Holy One of God" bit. Maybe they didn't follow that part, or maybe they knew better than to pay any attention to what unclean spirits say.