Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Fr. Stephen B. Reynolds

2/4/2013 (2 years ago)

Catholic Online (

Satan is on the losing side of salvation history and he knows it. 

Demon Ghost with Red Eyes.

Demon Ghost with Red Eyes.


By Fr. Stephen B. Reynolds

Catholic Online (

2/4/2013 (2 years ago)

Published in Year of Faith

Keywords: Year of Faith, Daily Homily, Gerasene demoniac, Gospel of St. Mark, Possession, Exorcism, Kingdom of God, St. Theresa Sugar Land, Fr. Stephen B. Reynolds

SUGAR LAND, TX (Catholic Online).  St. Mark recounts the story of Jesus' deliverance of someone afflicted with demonic possession (see Mark 5:1-20).  Traditionally referred to as the "Gerasene demoniac," this poor man suffered from the indwelling presence of evil spirits.  He was possessed by demons.

"Satan or the devil and the other demons are fallen angels who have freely refused to serve God and his plan. Their choice against God is definitive. They try to associate man in their revolt against God" (Catechism of the Catholic Church, no. 414).

Even though the devil is active in the world, we should be careful to avoid a disproportionate interest in him.  By his passion, death and resurrection, Jesus Christ has conquered the devil and all his works.  Satan is on the losing side of salvation history and he knows it. 

We should also reject the idea that the fallen angels are the source of every temptation or hardship we experience.  Most temptations come from within us - through disordered passions and desires; or, from outside of us - through persons, places and things that are occasions of sin.  A direct temptation from Satan is the exception.

Nevertheless, it is possible for a demon to torment a person or even to take possession of them.  The super-human strength shown by the Gerasene demoniac is a sign of the authenticity of his condition.  In addition, the possessing demons manifest a distinct personality, separate from that of the man whom they are afflicting. 

Jesus' arrival promises hope for the possessed man, but is a challenge for those who are not prepared to receive the Kingdom of God.

The encounter between Jesus and this man is illustrative of the Lord's mission. He has come to inaugurate the Kingdom of God and to restore creation to right order.  But Jesus' work provokes opposition.  Even those who admire Jesus' words and miracles will need a deep conversion of heart and mind in order for the Kingdom of God to be made manifest in them.

We see this difficulty in the reaction of the townspeople when they realize what has happened.  In freeing the afflicted man from demonic possession, Jesus allows the evil spirits to enter into the nearby herd of swine.  Driven mad, the pigs stampede, and rush over the cliffs, only to fall into the Sea of Galilee and drown.

St. Mark tells us that these people "were seized with fear," and that "they began to beg [Jesus] to leave their district."  After all, the deliverance of their neighbor had cost the townspeople their herd of swine.  It was a severe economic blow.  Perhaps some families were reduced to poverty and others had their livelihoods damaged or destroyed.  Even for the well-off, the loss of their livestock was unwelcome.

Jesus asked a lot of these people.  Perhaps they were relatives of the possessed man.  Others might have been his friends at one time.  Could it be that Jesus required this sacrifice of the town in order to atone for the rejection of their friend and neighbor; for isolating him rather than trying to help him?

What are we willing to sacrifice in order to make room for the expansion of the Kingdom of God in the world and in our lives?

In his parables and sayings, Jesus address the dangers associated with riches.  They can blind us to the needs of others (Luke 16:19-31), distract us from what is most important (Luke 12:13-21), and be an obstacle to our salvation (Mark 10:23-25).  The right use of our wealth - together with our abilities, talents, and personal gifts - is an important aspect of living in expectation of the fulfillment of the Kingdom of God (see Matthew 25:14-30).

"The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent, and believe in the gospel" (Mark 1:15).  Jesus begins his public ministry with this exhortation.  It remains the standard for discipleship.  May the Lord from everything that obscures the clarity of this precept.


Fr. Stephen B. Reynolds is pastor of St. Theresa Catholic Church in Sugar Land, TX, a suburb of Houston.  You may hear his on-line homilies at the parish website:


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'

Copywriter 2015 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for March 2015
Scientists: That those involved in scientific research may serve the well-being of the whole human person.
Evangelization: Contribution of women: That the unique contribution of women to the life of the Church may be recognized always.

Rosaries, Crosses, Prayer Cards and more... by Catholic Shopping .com


More Year of Faith

The Wedding Invitation of Jesus: We are Called to Live the Nuptial Mystery Watch

Image of There will be no giving or taking in marriage in the kingdom to come because the very purpose and meaning of marriage itself will be fulfilled. (See, e.g. Mk. 12:18-27) We will be living in the fullness of the Communion of Love with the Trinity. The symbol will give way to the eternal reality, the Sacrament will be fulfilled in the fullness of communion. All of human love will be completed in the Love which lasts forever.

By Deacon Keith Fournier

It is not accidental that the Bible, from beginning to the end, uses marriage as a metaphor and a symbol to reveal the plan of God for the whole human race.  Marriage was God's plan from the beginning as we see in the first book of Genesis. Throughout the Old ... continue reading

The Sower. The Seed. The Field. Understanding the Christian Mission Watch

Image of

By Deacon Keith Fournier

"A sower went out to sow. And, as he sowed, some seed fell on the path, and birds came and ate it up. Some fell on rocky ground, where it had little soil. It sprang up at once because the soil was not deep, and when the sun rose it was scorched, and it withered for ... continue reading

Reflection on the Catholic Catechism: Understanding the Bible Watch

Image of

By Michael Terheyden

How we interpret the Bible is of immense importance! It directly affects what we believe about Christ, the Church, and our faith, but it is also related to many of the grave problems in our society and the world. Yet, despite the gravity of this situation, we have good ... continue reading

Christ the King, the Year of Faith and the Catholic Counterculture Watch

Image of On this Solemnity of the Feast of Christ the King, the Year of Faith inaugurated by Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI comes to a ceremonial end. However, in reality, it cannot and will not end, because Jesus Christ is King! The Year of Faith was only the beginning for those who choose to live the Life of Faith.

By Deacon Keith Fournier

We celebrate the Feast of Christ the King. It is one of many opportunities the Catholic Church year offers to each one of us to consider the creature called time, receive it as a gift, and begin to really live our lives differently.  This is one of ... continue reading

The Bones of Peter, the Successor of Peter: Close of the Year of Faith Watch

Image of The bones of St. Peter the Apostle

By Deacon Keith Fournier

On the Solemnity of the Feast of Christ the King, the Sunday which marks both the end of the Church Year and the end of the Year of Faith, inaugurated by Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, Pope Francis greeted thousands of the faithful and presided over Holy Mass and the ... continue reading

Fr Randy Sly on Becoming a House of Prayer Watch

Image of Jesus drives the money changers from the temple. 

With hearts clear and focused on our Lord, we can follow the advice of Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta, Everything starts with prayer. Love to pray--feel the need to pray often during the day and take the trouble to pray. If you want to pray better, you must pray more. The more you pray, the easier it becomes. Perfect prayer does not consist of many words but in the fervor of the desire which raises the heart to Jesus. (Fr. Randy Sly)

By Father Randy Sly

Becoming a House of Prayer is the best discipline we can take on. St. Ephraem of Syria states that Virtues are formed by prayer. Prayer preserves temperance. Prayer suppresses anger. Prayer prevents emotions of pride and envy. Prayer draws into the soul the Holy ... continue reading

Jesus Weeps and Offers the Path to Peace Watch

Image of

By Deacon Keith Fournier

If this day you only knew what makes for peace- but now it is hidden from your eyes. For the days are coming upon you when your enemies will raise a palisade against you; they will encircle you and hem you in on all sides. They will smash you to the ground and your ... continue reading

The Kingdom of God is Among You. What Did Jesus Mean? Watch

Image of The Christian vocation is, of its nature, a vocation to the apostolate as well. Indeed, we call an apostolate every activity of the Mystical Body that aims to spread the Kingdom of Christ over all the earth. (CCC#863)

By Deacon Keith Fournier

In Jesus Christ, the Kingdom has been inaugurated. Upon his return it will be made complete and fully manifested in a new heaven and a new earth. We are members of the Body of Christ which makes it present here and now - as seed and sign for a world which is in labor. ... continue reading

Year of Faith: Bringing the Feast of the Presentation of Mary to Life Watch

Image of The Feast of the Presentation of Mary is celebrated in both the Eastern and Western Churches. It recalls the day in the life of the Jewish girl named Mary (Maryam) when her parents, Joachim and Anne, presented her to the Lord in the temple and dedicated her life to Him.

By Deacon Keith Fournier

On this Feast of the Presentation of Mary, let us make the choice to surrender ourselves to the same Lord who Joachim and Ann honored when they presented their dear daughter in the temple. Their daughter, Mary, became the Second Eve. The New Creation was born through ... continue reading

WEDNESDAY HOMILY: Our Lady's Encouragement Watch

Image of

By Fr Samuel Medley, SOLT

I got off the subway at Termini station and went up to the busy streets of Rome.  I had to walk past the place where all the prostitutes gathered.  I looked down at the street and began to pray in fear.  Suddenly I heard a feminine voice say, "Be a man!" ... continue reading

All Year of Faith News


Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Isaiah 50:4-7
4 Lord Yahweh has given me a disciple's tongue, for ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 22:8-9, 17-18, 19-20, 23-24
8 'He trusted himself to Yahweh, let Yahweh set him ... Read More

Gospel, Mark 15:1-39
1 First thing in the morning, the chief priests, ... Read More

Reading 2, Philippians 2:6-11
6 Who, being in the form of God, did not count ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for March 29th, 2015 Image

St. Berthold
March 29: Considered by some historians to be the founder of the Carmelite ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook

Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter