Reflection on the 4th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Cycle B
Dt. 18:15-20; 1 Cor. 7:32-35; Mk. 1:21-28.
Deuteronomy 18 gives us a very important prophecy concerning the Messiah who is to come. First of all he was to be a prophet sent by God and would speak the message from God. He was to be a kin of the Israelites, one of them who descended from Abraham. And a command follows: “Listen to him.” In a follow-up statement, the Lord says, “I will put my words into his mouth. He shall tell them all that I command him.” The words of Jesus Christ are the words of the Father. He would speak only the words of the Father. Then a warning follows, “Whoever will not listen to my words which he speaks in my name, I will make him answer for it.” This should make us tremble. Let us remember that this listening is not only with the ears but listening with the heart and the will. Every Sunday we come to Mass and hear the readings from the Old Testament, from the New Testament and the Gospels; we listen to teachings and recollections and we attend retreats; but do these words of admonitions come alive in our thinking and decisions and dealings with one another? Let the last words ring in our heads: “I will make him answer for it.” In the reading from 1Cor, Paul speaks of “adherence to the Lord without distraction” exemplified by the unmarried man or woman, “being anxious about the things of the Lord”. Do we adhere to the Lord? Are we anxious to carry out in action all he has taught us? These are the challenges of the 1st and 2nd readings.
In the Gospel, we see Jesus teaching with authority, of course, because he speaks the words which the Father has put into his mouth. He spoke as the Son of the Father sent to the world to bring salvation. On the other hand, the Scribes and teachers of Israel were merely theologians of the Torah; they would discuss the precepts of the written or the oral Law and they would frequently quote great authorities of the past and gave traditional interpretations of the Law. Jesus communicated to us the teachings from God for our salvation because he was aware of his mission as Savior and as God-among-us. This authority of Jesus was confirmed by the encounter with the man possessed by the devil. The devil recognized him as the “Holy One of God” as the Archangel Gabriel said to Mary at the Annunciation: the child to be born shall be called “Holy” and “Son of God”.
“Have you come to destroy us?” The presence of Jesus among us weakens the hold of Satan on mankind. With Jesus we can destroy him. Jesus is with us in the Holy Eucharist. Let us receive him worthily through a good confession and bring him with us to our home, our work, school, government offices, our family reunions, the groceries and malls. Through us Jesus wants to transform our world. Let us work to put Jesus in our midst and make his kingdom come among us.