The author of the Letter to the Hebrews is opening the eyes of his hearers, which includes us, as to who Jesus is and what he came to do. He speaks of Jesus our God, who is higher than the heavens, who became flesh, essentially “lower than the angels.” The author points out that he did this so that he could become our brother, making all of us sons and daughters of God. This is helpful because we sometimes don’t see Jesus clearly: maybe we think of him as so far beyond us, or maybe we see him as a best buddy, but really he is both of these, God becoming man so that we can be led to God.
It is always interesting to me how clearly the unclean spirits know who Jesus is. For them, Christ our God inspires fear and rebellion. But even these unclean spirits, hearing his voice, begrudgingly obey. Jesus teaches with authority, as the people standing by admit of him. This is a teaching that cannot be ignored. Each person may hear it and respond differently, but they do respond. Many hear his voice and follow. Others turn away.
In these early days of Ordinary Time, we essentially have the continuation of the Epiphany event. We continue to see Christ manifest in our midst, and continue to decide what to make of him. Today we see him as one who teaches with authority and who has authority over even the unclean spirits within us. Today he speaks to our sinfulness, to our brokenness, to our addictions, to our fallenness, to our procrastinations, to whatever debilitates us and saddens us and says “Quiet! Come out!”
That can seem remote to us because we don’t have that same kind of demon. But the truth is, we have to deal with demons all the time: demons of ignorance or apathy, demons of laziness or short-temperedness, demons that lead us to all kinds of sin. But in Christ, those demons never get to have victory. This Epiphany of Christ as dispossessor of demons is an epiphany that does more than just heal us. It is an epiphany that calls us out of darkness, one that insists we come out of our hiding and step into the light, so that the light of God’s love can shine in us and through us.All of this leads us to proclaim with the Psalmist: “O LORD, our Lord, how glorious is your name over all the earth!”