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You are why we do what we do - report, describe, comment, review. It is to bring to your eyes just what life is like for believers across Asia that we publish UCAN.
But as you know, the effort needs to be sustained if it is to have continuing effect.
UCAN publishes some 150 stories a week in four languages across six websites. We are grateful to benefactors in Europe and the US who support us. But those countries and the Church there are under increasing financial strain and their generosity no longer covers our costs.
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Thanks in anticipation.
Fr. Michael Kelly SJ
"What Do You Want With Us, Jesus of Nazareth?"
- January 11, 2011
In the ancient world, sickness was understood as being in thrall to evil spirits. This is why many of Jesusâ€™s miracles are described in terms of exorcisms. A common feature of such miracle stories is to exaggerate the symptoms of the afflicted one, as in this case, where the evil spirits, speaking through the mouth of the victim, identify Jesus and challenge him.
Itâ€™s not a question of acknowledging Jesusâ€™s divinity here. Itâ€™s just that the demons recognize that they are in the presence of a holy person, a man filled with Godâ€™s spirit, who will surely destroy them.
Again, in the ancient world, to know someoneâ€™s name was to have magical power over him. The demons seek to frighten Jesus by declaring his name. Jesus says but two sentences to the evil spirits: â€śBe silent! Come out of him.â€ť And the spirits leave the possessed man with a loud scream, throwing the man into convulsions.
The crowd is astonished beyond measure. Their own exorcists had lengthy rituals to expel demons and even then they were often unsuccessful. But Jesus is different. â€śHe speaks with authority,â€ť they said. â€śWhen he gives orders, even the spirits obey.â€ť For the first time, but certainly not for the last, this obscure rabbi from Galilee has a way about him which makes others sit up and take note.
As word of mouth spreads the news about this cure, simultaneously another question is bandied around: who can he be?