If one admits the existence of the devil, one must also admit the possibility of diabolical activity in our world. There are two types of diabolical activities: ordinary and extraordinary. Ordinary diabolical activity usually occurs when the devil incites a person to commit sin and do evil. While extraordinary diabolical activity occurs when the devil invades the body and exercises despotic dominions over the organs and faculties of individual human being. This is what happens in diabolical possession, the highest form of diabolical activity.
There are two factors involved in diabolical possession: presence of the devil in the body and exercise of diabolical power in the body and through the body. Symptoms which are usually indicative of diabolical possession are: the person being possessed can speak and understand previously unknown language; recognize things at a distance or hidden from view; and lastly, exhibits extraordinary strenght far beyond his age or particular condition. During diabolical possession there will be seizures, convulsions, obscene words and deeds, unreasonable and extreme anger and irreverence. What is also something clear is that the possessed is not conscious of what is happening and has no recollection of what had happened when he recovers from that period of crisis.
Considering all these, we can somehow conclude that diabolical possession is a tangible proof of the existence of the devil and a visible manifestation of his power.
In today’s Gospel, Jesus expels the demon from the demoniac in the synagogue. In expelling the demon Jesus proves himself as the fulfilment of the promised Messiah. A messiah anointed by the Spirit and sent by the Father to save us from our slavery to sin and from the dominion and oppresion of Satan and evil ones. In setting free the demoniac from diabolical possesion he shows us that he has the power over the supernatural world. He has the power over the devil and evil ones.
Exorcism, like preaching and miracles, is an essential part of the ministry of Jesus which is centered on the establishment of God’s imminent reign. Exorcism was Jesus’ chief weapons in the struggle with Satan (Mk 3:22-27), defeating the power of evil and liberating humanity; that is why a miracle is a dynamis or “act of power.” Jesus’ exorcism was not simple kind deed done to aid the individuals; they were concrete way of proclaiming and effecting God’s triumph over the powers of evil in the final hour. The exorcism was sign and partial realization of what was about to come fully in the kingdom.
As we go on with the celebration of the Mass, once again let us be reminded that the devil and his diabolical powers and influences exist. Let us, therefore, ask the Lord to anticipate our needs and keep us from falling. Then let us guard ourselves against the snares of the devil as we keep on pursuing and growing in the life of holiness all the days of our lives. As St. Peters exhorts: “Discipline yourselves, keep alert. Like a roaring lion your adversary the devil prowls around, looking for someone to devour. Resist him, steadfast in your faith, for you know that your brothers and sisters in all the world are undergoing the same kinds of suffering. And after you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, support, strengthen, and establish you.” [1 Pet. 5:6-10]