Catholic Mass Readings and Reflection January 09, 2024


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R/. My heart exults in the Lord, my Saviour.

V/. Alleluia R/. Alleluia

V/. Accept the word of God, not as the word of men, but as what it really is, the word of God.

R/. Alleluia

[In the city of Capernaum,] On the Sabbath Jesus entered the synagogue and was teaching. And they were astonished at his teaching, for he taught them as one who had authority, and not as the scribes. And immediately there was in their synagogue a man with an unclean spirit. And 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.” But Jesus rebuked him, saying, “Be silent, and come out of him!” And the unclean spirit, convulsing him and crying out with a loud voice, came out of him. And they were all amazed, so that they questioned among themselves, saying, “What is this? A new teaching with authority! He commands even the unclean spirits, and they obey him.” And at once his fame spread everywhere throughout all the surrounding region of Galilee.

1.      It is not a sweeping judgment to say that today authority is getting corrupted. It is becoming synonymous with manipulation, discrimination, and domination.

2.      The real spirit of authority which is nobility and dignity of character is corroding. The real purpose of authority which is service and benefit of others is sidelined.

3.       It is in this context the word of God is resurging the true authority. True authority is to be seen in terms of spiritual tenacity, moral credibility, and authenticity of life.

4.       This is what we see in Hannah in the first reading from 1 Samuel and in Jesus in the gospel of Mark. Hannah was persistent in her prayer. She was spiritually so profound and totally surrendered to God.

5.       Jesus was totally united with his Father, spiritually vibrant. He was integral and credible. He was so authentic without any trace of duplicity.

6.       This was his real authority and not merely the divine power to work some miracles. This was the authority that made him different and distinct from others in authority.

7.       Jesus’ authority was thus holistic, both in words and deeds. That is why he could teach and preach powerfully and also could heal and exorcise authoritatively. This type of authority is a serious warning and challenge to those in authority in our present times.

8.       How sadly the authority of today is mostly devoid of spirituality, morality, and authenticity! How many today turn their authority into a tool for self-projection, self-promotion, and self-glory? How much does authority degenerate into a means for subjugating and overpowering others?.

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