Fr Paul reads from the Gospel of Luke (4:31-37) in which Jesus astonishes everyone by the authority with which he teaches and heals the possessed man.

Fr Paul notes that this first story of the healing ministry of Jesus is pretty well the same as it is told by Mark except here the man’s disorder is worse’ it is the spirit of a unclean devil rather than just an unclean spirit. This version in Luke is also more violent as the devil throws the man down, though Luke who is thought to be a doctor, is careful to comment that the devil did not hurt the man.

It is a curious fact, says Fr Paul, that the devil which Jesus expels recognises who Jesus is and calls him ‘the Holy One of God’ but none of the bystanders seem to notice, hear or comment about what has been proclaimed. They simply have not recognised the significance of what was yelled out. The significance of what the devil cries out is limitless. ‘The Holy one of God’ is virtually the same as calling Jesus’ ‘God’, for holiness is the specific, unrepeatable quality of God.

Similarly to call Jesus the ‘son of’ means to people at the time of Jesus that he is a repetition of the original; So Jesus being called ‘son of God’ here means not just a physical son of a physical father in our human sense but it means so much more because none of us has ever encountered a personality like that of Jesus; a personality that is both human and divine.

For our reflection today, Fr Paul invites us to hear again and acknowledged the words yelled out in the Gospel, ‘What do you want with us, Jesus of Nazareth? I know who you are: the Holy One of God.’