Friday, July 18, 2008

Commentary on Contemporary Developments

"The devil has landed in a furious rage, for he knows his time is short." Rev. 12:12

Hans Urs von Balthasar:
[Christ] taught "differently than the scribes," with an authority never before encountered, even though he taught nothing different from the scribes. The scribes serve the authority of the law that they expound. The tone of Jesus' preaching makes clear that he is the master of the law he explains. . . . For that reason it seems to the listeners, who, after all, are hearing an exposition of words very familiar to them, as if "a completely new teaching is being proclaimed" (Mk 1:27).

Now, when Jesus' "completely new teaching" sounds forth, a completely new head rears itself, that of the apocalyptic beast. The Word has reached the demon, has called it by its name. . . .
Balthasar makes mention of these things in the context of Jesus' first preaching in Mark's Gospel, which occurred after he cast a demon out of a man possessed. Balthasar observes:
. . . in the story of this healing, the demon must depart, but not before he displays himself in a farewell seizure of his victim. According to the Church Fathers, all the persecutions of the Church since the time of Christ are part of this tantrum thrown by the devil on his way out: the head of the serpent has been crushed underfoot, but the body thrashes about in a desperate wrestling with itself.

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