Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time (31 January 2021)

Mark: 1:21-28

In the first chapter of Mark’s gospel, we meet Jesus fulfilling his ministry of teaching in the synagogue on the Sabbath, preaching, healing and exorcising demons.

In this Sunday’s Gospel, we have Jesus the Teacher and Healer.  Jesus is in Capernaum, it’s the sabbath and He is teaching.  His listeners are “astonished at his teaching, for he taught as one having authority and not as the scribes.”  Christ came among us to show us the will of His Father.  He didn’t burden his disciples with the minutiae of rules and regulations – but taught with grace and power.  His authority came from God.  He is Savior rather than merely Teacher.  Pope Francis tells us that Christ’s authority is compelling because his life possesses “consistency” and “coherence”. Christ’s person confirms his words in spirit and in truth.

Jesus’ exorcism of the man with the demon causes talk among the congregation and they wonder and query this “new teaching with authority.”   “He commands even the unclean spirits and they obey him.”  This new teaching with authority needs to be listened to with attention.   Are we aware that God through Jesus is always calling us to a closer relationship with him and all humankind, made in His image and likeness?  I ask, how am I,and perhaps some of you, listening to and hearing this invitation, freely given, many times during our daily routines.

Jesus reminds us that He came that we may have life and have it abundantly.  Daily, God is showering us with his abundant life – if only we have eyes to see, ears to hear and an open heart to receive and accept this gift with love and gratitude.      What a blessing for the grace to awaken to a new day.  To be given the opportunity to acknowledge God’s love and care in the darkness or light, turmoil or peace, clamor or silence.   Let us ask for that open heart and mind so that, “If today you hear his voice”, we can willingly answer, “Here I am Lord, I come to do your will.”

Sr. ​​​​​​​​Therese Lenehan, O.P.

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