Posted by: livingscripture | February 1, 2009

Fourth Sunday of Ordinary Time

From the Word of the Day

 

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!’.          (Mark 1, 23-24)

How should we live this Word

 

Jesus passes the day at Capernaum with His first disciples and manifests His uncommon authority as He teaches and cures the sick and the obsessed.  All ask where His power comes from and such authority.  For this reason, Mark’s whole Gospel is built around this question, ‘Who is Jesus of Nazareth?’.  It is a question of interest even for us because Christ is the heart of our faith and therefore of our vision of life that flows from Him.  The answer to this question comes from an unthinkable source.  It is not the disciples nor the faithful in the synagogue who declare that Jesus is the Messiah.  It is Satan who recognizes Him and proclaims, ‘I know who You are – the Holy One of God!’. 

St. Jerome, a Church Father, comments on this affirmation.  ‘This is not a spontaneous confession of faith that is rewarded with a prize but rather a confession that is extracted from one who makes it unwillingly.  It is similar to escaped slaves, who upon meeting their master after a long time cry out, begging to avoid being beaten.  Thus the demons having suddenly seen the Lord appear on earth, believe that He has come to judge them.  In fact, the presence of the Lord is a torment for the demons’.        synagogue1                                                                                             

Do we succeed to recognize Jesus?  Do we see Him in the events of history, in the newscasts of each day?  Above all, do we recognize Him in our own life when He heals us from evil, from sin, from the violence that sometimes dwells in our heart?  The possessed man is mute.  Satan speaks for him because he has possessed him.  We instead, still have the possibility to make our voice heard and to beg the Teacher to heal us, to give us peace, to give us hope.  Let us do this immediately.  Let us do this at all times.  The Lord of life will respond with His great mercy because He never leaves a prayer unheard.

 

Reveal Your face to me, Lord.  Grant that I may know how to seek You even when the daily clouds obscure my vision!

 

 

The voice of Salvatore Natoli, a contemporary non-believer and philosopher

 

Jesus is the one who saves us from evil, proposing to us a conversion of heart.  It is the practice of self-giving through which evil can be overcome.  However, there are two kinds of evil; one that comes from the heart and one that is illness.  Traditionally, physical illness has been presented as the consequence of moral evil.  Sickness and death cannot be blamed on anyone.  They are not the result of a sin. Not sharing suffering is a sin.  As a non-believer, what I learn from Christ is precisely the capacity to bear the pain of others.


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