Gospel reflections – 4th Sunday in Ordinary Time

31 January 2021

Mark 1:21-28

These days, almost every day, it rains here in Kuching.  Reminds me of my days in Bau when in a season like this, I often see these two sights more than before – the sight of clouds thick and dark and the sight of rainbows colourful and bright.  While the former threatens us with impending heavy rain, the latter brightens our day signalling the ceasing of, no matter how heavy and long, the rain. 

Every time I see the “Oh no, dark and thick clouds are forming!”, I go faster and faster in my jogging so to reach home before the rain starts.  By the way, since my Bau days, I have started jogging almost daily.  Here in Kuching, I do so at the MBKS park.  To jog at least weekly has been my New Year’s resolution since yeeeears ago.  These past three years tough, finally, I am able to keep it.  There is hope, you know!  And speaking of hope, every time I see a “Wooow, rainbow!”, I go slow and wonder with awe.  My smile gets wider.  Rainbow, you’re a winner!

These thoughts led me to ask myself, “Am I more of a ‘dark cloud’… or a ‘bright rainbow’?  Am I ‘awan gelap’ or ‘pelangi cerah’?

A dark cloud makes people feel afraid, gloomy, low.  A bright rainbow makes people feel awesome, hopeful, high.  How do I make people feel?

A “bright rainbow” kind of person makes people happy wherever he goes. While a “dark cloud” kind of person makes people happy whenever he goes.

In this Sunday’s Gospel (Mk 1:21-28), Jesus makes an astounding miracle.…  He turned a dark cloud into a bright rainbow.…  He turned a man “possessed by the devil” into a man “filled with God”.  From ‘dirasuk syaitan’, the man, because of Jesus’ love and power, became ‘diisi dengan Tuhan’.  Wooow!

Honestly, I have to admit, there were moments in my life when I have been a dark cloud, when I have been possessed by the devil.  I thought of saying, “when I felt like I have been possessed by the devil”.  Good thing I did not say that because what I really mean is that there were really moments when I was really ‘possessed by the devil’. 

“Dear healing priest, Fr Don Don, I need you.”  Or maybe better still, “Oh veteran, Fr Larry, I need you too.”

There were times when I told myself, “Yuuuck!  What have I done?  I am a Catholic, and more so, I am a priest, why did I do that?  That’s so wrong.  That’s so bad.  And I’ve done it again.  Oh no!  I’ve offended someone.  I’ve offended God.  What have I done?  How could I, a priest?  I should never do such!  I should not have said those words; I should not have done those deeds.  I’m baaad.  I’ve done wrooong.  What devil has possessed meee?!”

Honestly… you might need to admit too…. have you felt this way too?  Have you been this guilty too?  Has the devil also possessed you?

Sometimes?  From time to time?  Often times?  Oh no… we’re such sinful weak and wicked creatures… !

Today’s good news is this… no matter how “possessed by the devil” we may be, God’s love remains most powerful.  Christ can cure us.  Jesus can forgive us.  God can save us.  And He so wants to.  In today’s Gospel story, we see Jesus casting out unclean spirits, delivering someone from the devil, offering that someone cleansing and wellness. 

God wants to cleanse us too.  You and I, together… let us welcome Jesus’ love and power that can and will miraculously turn us from ‘dark clouds’ into ‘bright rainbows’, from someone ‘possessed by the devil’ into someone ‘filled with God’.  You and I, together… let us humbly do so.

Allow me to share further by asking, “What’s the difference between ‘possessed’ and ‘filled’?”

The word ‘possessed’ sounds so negative.  Very bad connotation, such bad vibes!  When one is ‘possessed’, one becomes a victim who would suffer so much.  He loses his freedom and sanity and gets manipulated and controlled.  That’s exactly what the devil does; he tries to ‘possess’ us.

On the contrary, the word ‘filled’ sounds so positive.  Connotes that feeling of being satisfied and blessed, such good vibes!  When one is ‘filled’, one becomes a winner who succeeds, a recipient who feels so blessed.  He feels enriched and gets motivated to be enriching.  He simply feels glad and grateful, thus he becomes gracious and graceful.  And that’s exactly what God does; He does ‘fill’ us.

A person who is ‘possessed by the devil… a dark cloud’ would probably look like this…
But a person ‘filled with God…a bright rainbow’ would surely look like this…

Am I a “dark cloud” or a “bright rainbow”? Let us welcome God to make His miracle in us.
Am I “possessed by the devil” or “filled with God”? The grace is His to give.
God does give. It is up to us to receive it, to receive Him.
The choice is ours to make.

You and I, we’ve got to choose….
“Possessed by the devil” or “filled with God”?
To be a “bright rainbow” or a “dark cloud”?

Especially as the pandemic and all its problematic consequences continue to be a very dark cloud to us all, it is all the more urgent and necessary for you and I, to be that bright rainbow to us all.

Post Script… Just two points to ponder on more and more:

  • What are the things in my life that make me fall in to the devil’s possession and become a dark cloud?
  • What are the things that I can do to help me be more and more a bright rainbow, so filled with God?

Fr Ramon Borja, SDB
Commission for Youth


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