January 11, 2022 (readings)
- Tuesday of the First Week in Ordinary Time
- Cathy Stamper
Jesus came to Capernaum with his followers, and on the Sabbath he 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.
Opening Prayer: Lord, your authority rings out through the ages. May I seek you with true humility each day as I encounter you in your word. May I cling to you when the enemy of my soul agitates me with thoughts and anxieties that do not come from you. I give you thanks for your word, which brings me comfort. May your grace remain with me and with all who are dear to me.
The Author Has Authority: The scribes were learned men who lectured the people with informed opinions on Scripture. The people were accustomed to seeing the scribes as leaders and authorities. Their teachings were revered. Suddenly, this young preacher Jesus was talking authoritatively about Scripture. His teaching was like nothing they had ever heard, infused with his divine knowledge and wisdom. The listeners began to understand things differently because the author of the word, God himself, was teaching, and his authority was unmistakable. “Let us therefore yield ourselves and bow to the authority of the Holy Scriptures, which can neither err nor deceive” (St. Augustine).
Casting Out Demons: Before this man with an unclean spirit, Jesus’ authority was on perfect display. The crazed man ranted and raved, creating quite a scene, but Jesus wasn’t drawn into his chaos. Jesus simply and commandingly ordered, “Quiet, Come out of him,” and the demon immediately obeyed. No wonder the crowds were amazed! Our modern conception of Jesus tends to focus on his mercy, his forgiveness, and his personal love for each of us. And, while these things are true, Jesus is also a God of infinite power and might. As creatures before our Creator, we owe him praise, humble adoration, and perfect obedience. “Yours, Lord, are greatness and might, majesty, victory, and splendor. For all in Heaven and on earth is yours; yours, Lord, is kingship; you are exalted as head over all” (1 Chronicles 29:11).
Fame and Precedent: This tale of the devil’s expulsion would be told again and again as Jesus’ fame spread. The Gospel of Mark tells us of even more miraculous healings in which Jesus not only brought relief to the healed but belief to the witnesses. Jesus was setting a precedent for the Apostles and for the faithful today. The third luminous mystery, the Proclamation of the Kingdom, recalls this beautiful time in human history. If we are to be known for anything, let us be known for sharing our faith, not just in words, but in active service to everyone we encounter, in imitation of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Conversing with Christ: So often the devil besets me with regrets from the past and worries about the future. Lord, keep me centered in the present moment. Ground me in your word, and keep me aware of your love and your power over all evil and temptation. Help me to be a true extension of your power and might in the world today so that your Kingdom may be realized.
Resolution: Lord, today by your grace I will seek out a concrete way to share the Gospel, whether through a social media post, a chat with a friend or neighbor, or serving a neighbor’s need.
For Further Reflection: The Sacrament of the Present Moment by Jean-Pierre de Caussade
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