Daily Reflection – Jan 28, 2018
Sunday 28 January 2018
First Reading: DT 18:15-20
If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.
PS 95:1-2, 6-7, 7-9
Second Reading: 1 COR 7:32-35
Gospel Reading: MK 1:21-28
Today’s Note: Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Then they came to Capernaum,
and on the sabbath Jesus entered the synagogue and taught.
The people were astonished at his teaching,
for he taught them as one having authority and not as the scribes.
In their synagogue was a man with an unclean spirit;
he cried out, “What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth?
Have you come to destroy us?
I know who you are—the Holy One of God!”
Jesus rebuked him and said,
“Quiet! Come out of him!”
The unclean spirit convulsed him and with a loud cry came out of him.
All were amazed and asked one another,
“What is this?
A new teaching with authority.
He commands even the unclean spirits and they obey him.”
His fame spread everywhere throughout the whole region of Galilee.
A new teaching with authority . . . (Mark 1:27)
You know when you see empty words. A celebrity issues a halfhearted apology for an indiscretion caught on videotape. An athlete hedges his stance on a controversial issue for fear of upsetting some sponsors. A grade school student offers made-up excuses for incomplete homework. Someone is not being completely straightforward, and it puts us on alert. If they keep on acting this way, we find it hard to take seriously anything they say. Their words have lost authority, and we know it.
This is the exact opposite of how the people in the synagogue had reacted after they heard Jesus teach. He was the real deal! There was no evasion or beating around the bush. There was no fear of how the people might react to him. They could tell that he meant what he said and that he said exactly what he meant. With humble, simple clarity, he spoke about the kingdom of God.
With authority (Mark 1:27). That’s how Jesus speaks to our hearts as well. Not with the false authority of a bully trying to scare us into submission. Not the insecure authority of a man trying to convince us of something he doesn’t believe in himself. No, he speaks with the humble authority of a Messiah motivated by nothing but love for us. It’s the authority that a person displays when helping a close friend through a difficult time—talking gently whenever possible, but firmly if necessary, and always with respect and affection. When Jesus speaks to us this way, his words sink into our hearts, and we know he is speaking out of love.
Jesus wants to speak to you with authority at Mass today. He doesn’t want to bully you or push you or overpower you. He doesn’t want to trick you or deceive you or give you empty promises. No, he wants to stir your heart, kindle your hope, and give you his peace. So come to Mass eager and willing to hear him.
“Holy Spirit, help me hear Jesus’ voice today.”