FRIENDS and SERVANTS of the WORD
Tuesday, January 12, 2016
First Week in Ordinary Time
From the Word of the Day
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.
(Mark 1: 22-26)
In today’s Gospel, Mark the evangelist, proposes some essential points about the identity of Jesus, perfectly in line with the synoptic tradition that presents the Teacher as a “powerful prophet in works and words” (Luke 24;19). Mark wants the readers, like the crowd, to realize that Jesus teaches as “one having authority and not like the scribes” and that His teaching is something new and surprising. In fact, in Jesus’ words, we perceive the presence of God’s absolute novelty, a creative novelty of quality that does not come from the outside but from the inside and that purifies and reinvigorates.
The teaching of the scribes, instead, took its authority from the outside and was purely repetitive because it referred to some authority of some past school or some famous rabbi. Not Jesus; His words were direct, they draw strength from themselves; they are clear, transparent, and unexpected, without need for external arguments to reinforce them. The Word of the Teacher of Nazareth is not like that of other men. For human beings, saying and doing are two distinct moments and are separate. The second does not necessarily follow the first. Instead, for Jesus, they are one and the same. His Word is a fact, something that really happens. When Jesus says something, it is done and it is done by the very fact that it is said. For example, in today’s Gospel, our Lord commands the impure spirit, “Quiet! Come out of him!” “The unclean spirit convulsed him and with a loud cry came out of him.”
In my pause for silent contemplation, I will picture myself in this scene and marvel at the power of Jesus, and let it reinforce my trust in Him!
Lord, fill me with wonder and gratitude for You!
The Voice of the Letter to the Ephesians 15:1
It is better to be silent and be, rather than speak and not be. To teach is beautiful, if the one teaching acts. One alone is the Teacher who spoke and it was done, and the things He did in silence are worthy of the Father.
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