No Democrat will honestly ask whether Bernie Sanders incited the shooter that nearly killed Steve Scalise.
January 27, 2021
Luke 2:22-40 Presentation of the Lord in the Temple
February 1, 2021

Mark 1:21-28 Pro-Life Sunday

4th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Deuteronomy 18:15-20
1 Corinthians 7:32-35
Mark 1:21-28

A. Text and Context
• The 1st reading in Deuteronomy tells us of Moses making a prophecy that a prophet will be raised from among the Israelites
• This prophecy is now fulfilled in the gospel where the people inside the synagogue are so astonished by the words of Jesus speaking with such authority
• Jesus is now the prophet who is now in their midst in flesh and blood
• Prophet in this context means a teacher that is why Jesus has a prophetic role, he teaches his disciples, he has a teaching role
• We must not be confused that Jesus is simply a prophet, he is more than that, he is God and Lord most of all
• Jesus is a prophet because he teaches with authority and apart from that even the demons, the unclean spirits also obey him
• With such a situation, indeed, a prophet is already in their midst and that is Jesus
• Here we see Jesus as a person who speaks with authority. And if we say authority here it does not simply mean that it is somebody who wields power, or who is at the helm of a high position, power, or command. The authority of Jesus comes from God
• So as mentioned in the gospel when the people heard Jesus speaking in the synagogue so full of wisdom and brilliance and eloquence and he projects a bearing with so much authority that they were so amazed and overwhelmed
• The Jews are already very familiar with authorities especially the Roman authorities who constantly ran after them for their taxes. They have authority because they are the colonizers
• There is also the learned sectors in their society like the scribes and the Pharisees who constantly remind them of the rituals of purification in the religion called Judaism
• They have authority by virtue of their knowledge of the law because they are the experts of the law
• But here we have Jesus. When Jesus has spoken in the synagogue to preach the people are astonished he has so much command and bearing so that even the evil spirits are scared of him

B. Human Situation
• We are all familiar with brilliant and eloquent people especially when they talk
• We love to listen, because the ideas are very intelligent and very clever in answering difficult questions in interviews or in debates
• When they are so convincing, with all the words of persuasion, people would really believe them and because of that they can even influence or sway public opinions, they become instant celebrities
• In fact by the wisdom of their words alone we have principles in logic known as appeal to authority: according to Mahatma Gandhi, according to Carlos P. Romulo, according to Donald Trump, etc.
• We quote people who have authority, because they become institutions themselves because of their brilliance and wisdom
• But one thing that we have to be really careful is that this is really very tricky. Mere words can be very deceiving. Why? Because words are different from actions
• What we are saying is one and what we are doing is another, and the reality is that more often than not we are inconsistent with what we say in the way people read our actions
• A person maybe so convincing but he can use that to protect his own interests
• The audience can be so moved to sympathy listening to a very emotional plea only to find out that we are already swindled of our own hard earned money
• But in the case of Jesus it is very different. He is not driven with malice if he talks to exact praises from the people as a good preacher. Jesus puts into action what he preaches
• When he taught his disciples to be generous and merciful to others he really is generous to all even to the sinners, he drinks and eats with sinners
• When he taught his disciples to love your enemies he really forgive and love his enemies even Judas the Iscariot who has betrayed him
• The sincerity of the words of Jesus is accompanied with the sincerity of his actions and that makes the authority of Jesus so stunning and so felt by the people listening to him
• And because the devil hates so much the sincere and honest people with most pure of intentions, they are all scared of Jesus and they ran away with the presence of Jesus
• His sincerity, honesty and his purity of intentions send shivers to the spine to all the bad spirits and so they all fled

C. Challenge
• This is the challenge that gospel brings us today, that as Christians we are all called to be examples of what we say by translating into action what comes out from our mouths
• That makes our authority credible
• If we teach our children back home: My children don’t get into trouble with others but the children always see you fight with your wife or husband day in and day out. How will they believe? The parents send a confusing message to their children
• If we advice our married friend for example because we see him or her flirting with another, we tell him or her to be faithful to your partner, yet everybody knows that we do a lot of a not so moral acts that we do in secret and hidden in the closet
• How then can we preach the virtue of fidelity to others? Authority here then is discredited by virtue of what we are doing
• We have to do what we say. What we are preaching must be realized into concrete actions
• For short, we have to become models ourselves on what we say and believe. Otherwise, the authority we project will all be weakened because our words will be hollow and beautiful outside, but nothing in the inside
• And it will be merely lip service and we will be less credible. This is actually the secret of Christian discipline
• The second reading tells us of a life of discipline if you are single then you have more freedom for spiritual matters
• This is the kind of authority that Jesus wants us all to possess and practice as ordinary Christians
• We earn the respect of others not because we are rich, not because we are so powerful so that people are afraid of us or not because we sit in a high position in a company or office
• We are respected because we are so dignified because we are so sincere and true to what we say
• If we do that, then in that sense we already share the authority of Jesus to make a dignified proclamation of the good news of the KOG, right in our home, right in our workplace
• We project authority through our good examples
• And we must remember this. When we are on authority, it does not mean that such power, such authority only belongs to us
• It simply means that we only share our authority with God
• It is really God who gave us the possibilities that we will have authority in this world
• We only share our authority with God for the purpose of serving his own people

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Mark 1 verse 21-28

Mark 1 verse 21-28

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