In the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.
The event described in the Gospel reading we heard today, took place right after the Transfiguration of our Lord Jesus Christ on the mountain of Tabor. When Christ descended the mountain with his disciples Peter, James, and John, on the day after the Transfiguration, they saw the rest of the disciples with a big crowd of people around them.
It turned out that a certain man brought his son, who was possessed by demons, to the apostles; but they were unable to cast out the demon from the boy.
“O unbelieving and perverse generation, how long shall I be with you? How long shall I bear with you?” – Such was the bitter reproach of the Lord after he heard the account of what had happened. The father of the boy had very little faith, but the apostles also proved themselves to be short of faith. It was an important failure for them since they had received from the Lord the power and authority over all demons.
There is hierarchy among the demons, as among the angels. Perhaps it was one of the demonic princes, extremely fierce and stubborn. Also, the apostles didn’t have among themselves the three most prominent: Peter, James, and John. However, all this could not excuse them. That’s why after the boy was healed by Jesus Christ when the apostles asked Him privately: “Why could we not cast it out?” He answered: “Because of your unbelief…However, this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting.”
The Gospel speaks often about the possessed; they exist in our times as well. Demonic possession could be in many forms and in different degrees.
Much more common are the hidden forms of demonic possession. For example, there are people who cannot stand when someone speaks about God or religion. They immediately begin to mock and make blasphemous comments.
In general, demons act through all sinful passions. Look at someone in anger: his eyes are full of rage; being possessed by the spirit of anger, he utters the cruelest words, which he will bitterly regret later when the attack of anger passes.
In fact, we constantly live under demonic influence, which they produce in two ways: through our thoughts and our feelings. Demons are able to introduce their suggestions into our mind in such an imperceptible way that we are completely unaware of it, and consider their suggestions to be our own reasoning.
Demons create in us strong repulsion to all spiritual things: to prayer, to reading the Gospel or other spiritual books, to church. One should always make an effort to overcome this demonic resistance, which appears in the feelings of boredom and heaviness of heart. However if we force ourselves to pray or to go to church, these heavy feelings quickly give way to joy.
On the contrary, every time we skip church on Sunday, under different pretexts, inspired by demons, we make their grip over us stronger. The more one stays away from church the more he gets under the demonic power, though he perhaps does not notice it.
Most of all demons strive to keep us away from Holy Communion because they know well that as soon as the light of Christ enters our soul, their dark power will come to an end; and they will have to flee.
That’s why we should not stay long without Communion so that to be always with God and give no place in our heart to the devil.
Bishop Andrei (Erastov)
- Chris casting out demons from the epileptic boy
- Christ casting out demons
- Saint Marina
- Header: Christ casts out demons from the possessed in Gadara, fresco, XIV century, in Visoki Decani Monastery, Kosovo, Serbia.