Powerful Mass Readings and Reflection January 28, 2024


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R/. O that today you would listen to his voice! Harden not your hearts.

V/. Alleluia R/. Alleluia

V/. The people dwelling in darkness have seen a great light, and for those dwelling in the region and shadow of death, on them a light has dawned.

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.      Jesus preaches the gospel and does miracles. Perhaps, there may be some others also who preach and perform miracles. But, the difference of Jesus is his tone of authority, unlike the Pharisees and scribes.

2.      People are easily struck by this difference. But, what is this authority? Where does it come from? Jesus had no office or position, and thus no official or juridical power and authority. But he had a tremendous spiritual authority and a moral authority.

3.      It is an authority that is rooted in his communion with the Father. In the words of the first reading from Deuteronomy, it is the authority that comes from those words which are directly put in his mouth by God Himself.

4.      And in tune with the second reading from the 1 Corinthians, it is the authority that comes from being free from anxieties. It is the authority that comes from being anxious about the affairs of the Lord, and how to please the Lord.

5.      It is the authority that springs from an undivided devotion to the Lord. This is the profound spiritual authority, rooted in God. It is also an authority that testifies itself in a sound character and conduct.

6.      It is this authority that gives his teaching conviction and clarity, and gives his acting the power of healing. It is the power of God that is seen in holiness and goodness, in spirituality and integrity, in faith and charity, in devotion and dedication.

7.      It is the power that challenges and expels evil powers. It is the power that directly appeals to the heart, stirs up the interior and transforms a person. It is the real integral authority that embraces in one stretch both God and humanity. Precisely it is this power and authority that was lacking in the Pharisees and scribes, but was abounding in Jesus. Hence the difference!

8.      It is this spiritual and moral authority which is badly needed today for every follower of Christ. Sadly, often, power and authority corrupt persons, make them arrogant and lord over others and become doorsteps for unhealthy and unholy power politics.

9.      Authority is used as a tool to woo or intimidate others, and also as a bait and magic rod to establish and propagate oneself, rather than God and His reign. Those in authority must make sure that their role is not a power-wielding tool, but a grace-building channel.

10.  But, a follower of Christ should be a deeply spiritual and moral person. Spiritual and moral authority is much more important than mere juridical authority.

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