Sunday, January 31th, 2021 – Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time - Cycle B
Readings: Deuteronomy 18: 15-20, Psalm 95 “If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts”, 1 Co-rinthians 7: 32-35, Mark 1: 21-28
In today’s gospel Jesus’ teaching is seen in action. In the first public work of the ministry there is a confronta-tion between two superpowers: the power of God and the power of darkness. While Jesus is teaching in thesynagogue, he is interrupted by the shouts of a man possessed; he has no authority over his body or spirit.
When Jesus speaks, he commands the power that dominates this man’s life to leave him alone. At Jesus’ com-mand the man is freed. The people are astonished and marvel at Jesus’ teaching: “What is this? A new teach-ing with authority”.
When Jesus teaches, he shares not only his wisdom but his power. Jesus’ actions are his principal teachings. That is his unique authority. He uses his power to liberate people from the evil forces that dominate their lives. And when others see what he is doing with his teaching, they begin to wonder who this Jesus really is. He will be met with unmixed approval and success. Now people are applauding him but later, as we know, things will change and the applause will die down.
When people want to shelter from his teaching and ignorehis worth, they will distract themselves by focusing on his background, his family. They will begin to question his authority, criticize his values, denounce his preferences.
The important point is that Jesus stayed committed to using his power for good. He continued to exercise hisauthority to liberate those who are bound up and to confront those who lay burdens on the weak. Applause orno applause. No matter what opinion polls say, Jesus struggles on. If he received his authority from else-
where, he looks elsewhere for his approval and support. May we also look up to God for approval. Our Lord,
Jesus has left this example for us. Be blessed by the Lord.
Fr. Paschal Chester, svd