The person of Christ, and who He is, remains a central question for Christianity.

Not that it is a question unanswered; far from it. Christian history is crowded with both good and bad answers; helpful and harmful answers; ones that range from the sublime expressions of revealed truth to what is destructive and heretical.

It is clear from the Gospels that this question of who Jesus from Nazareth is figured strongly in the minds of what could be called the general public of his time. I suggest that this remains a question for the general public of today, even if some ignore it, dismiss it, rail against it, or answer it so as to please themselves. Likewise it’s a question we who are here must answer from within the bosom of the Church. For not to ask the question, and still more dangerously, not to answer it, can leave our faith impersonal if not infantile.

Christ’s mission was not to be a wandering teacher, attracting crowds eager for a diversion. One cannot read the gospel honestly and conclude that. As we hear today Christ’s voice was one of authority and power. What it must have been like to hear that voice! He is the prophet foretold by Moses in the first reading.

The demon recognised that voice for what it was  – the voice of God. There was no need for the lengthy exorcism rituals. There was no need to call on God’s power and presence because God was there. Christ is God. So he opened his mouth and exercised his dominion over all things, even demons. He spoke and it happened; just as in the beginning, at the Creation.

Let us take a moment to note two things: the day on which this happened and who was defeated.

It was on the Sabbath that this deliverance from evil took place. Most probably this was not missed by the ordinary onlooker. The Sabbath was the day of remembering God’s loving fidelity in the covenant promise made to Noah, and the deliverance from slavery in Egypt. This poor man in the thrall of the demon experienced both – love and freedom – coming from the Son of God.

Also, the mention of demons is not the stuff of a fairy tale. There is a tendency to try to explain away situations like this one; to say modern science and medicine would diagnose differently and would be more rational and scientific. Even if this were the case such conclusions would miss the truth if they tried to explain away the demons.

The Catechism is very clear. The devil (or Satan) does exist as do the other fallen angels. These creatures rebelled against God and have freely refused to serve God and his plan. Their choice  cannot be undone. What’s more they seek to associate human beings in their rebellion. (CCC #414)

But God has dominion over all things and He will always seek to rescue those who are his own; when they ask Him to.

And this brings us to another amazing aspect of God’s action. Again, the gospel episode helps us to understand. Christ’s voice and authority was not just an exterior power to the man possessed by the demon. Christ’s voice and power penetrated into his interior and there liberated him in an intimate and profound way.

Christ wants to rebuke all evil – both in the world and within us. Rebuke here is not just correcting or telling the devil to go away. It implies combat and judgement and victory.

Our Catholic faith gives us not just a set of beliefs and a moral compass but a real, personal, and everlasting friendship with an awesome and powerful God who has dominion over all things. This is all offered to us through Jesus Christ.  And only through Him.

And “offered ” is a key word. The divine power is power exercised in chosen restraint. There is no force, no compulsion or invasion. God indicates, persuades  and invites (cf St Angela Merici).

How do we access Christ’s effective authority and power?

Well, we have to be in the state of grace and our wills have to be disposed to Christ. Such conditions are the fruit of the Sacraments.

So we must participate at Mass every Sunday and more often if we can. Attending Mass with devotion is a source of grace. Than we should receive Holy Communion worthily and properly disposed, having observed the hour of fasting beforehand. And then we must go to Confession regularly.

These are the ordinary means Christ has left to us so that we may experience His authority and power.

Lastly, let us not forget to pray to our guardian angel. Our guardian angel is our constant companion and protector from the devil and his fallen angels. Our guardian angel is the messenger of God’s will to our minds.

Christ is our Lord and Teacher. Let us honour him with all our mind and listen to his voice with undivided  hearts.