August 31st, 2021

The Gospel according to Luke (4:31-37) 

Jesus went down to Capernaum, a town of Galilee.
He taught them on the sabbath,
and they were astonished at his teaching
because he spoke with authority.
In the synagogue there was a man with the spirit of an unclean demon, 
and he cried out in a loud voice,
“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, “Be quiet! Come out of him!”
Then the demon threw the man down in front of them
and came out of him without doing him any harm.
They were all amazed and said to one another,
“What is there about his word?
For with authority and power he commands the unclean spirits,
and they come out.”
And news of him spread everywhere in the surrounding region.

Opening Prayer: Jesus, thank You for sharing the Good News.  You shared it with Your first followers, the Apostles, and Your authority was known even by the demons You cast out.  Help me today to reflect on Your Good News in my life, and help me to live it out today.  Amen.

Encountering Christ:

In this time of such great dissension in the world and in our country, the thought occurred to me: “How do we know that what we are told are the facts are indeed the facts?”  Particularly nowadays, when anyone with a computer can post on the Internet and potentially be seen as an “expert”, and can state whatever he or she wants.  What authority can we possibly rely upon to know what is the truth?

The listeners of Jesus’ message as mentioned in the Gospel today likely had that same question, as it always came down to authority.  The rabbis and teachers of Jesus’ time always quoted others to give themselves authority.  Jesus went completely against that practice by not citing anyone else’s authority but His own (and by extension, that of His Father).  Authority is everything in our faith.  Without knowing whose authority we are to listen to, we risk following someone who will lead us away from God, not toward Him.

Now, first of all, I will not claim to be an authority about anything (except maybe Star Wars, the Oakland A’s, and maybe the Golden State Warriors).  When it comes to matters of faith, I know that there is much more that I don’t know than I do.  But, I trust in the authority of our Catholic faith.  It may not always (or often!) have what is the “popular” opinion or guidance on matters being discussed today, but it always speaks with Jesus’ voice.  The great lesson for each of us today is to keep that in mind, and not seek to be an authority, but to yield that to our Lord.

Challenges often come up in our day-to-day lives, when we wonder how to act or respond in a situation.  It’s natural to want to ask someone who “knows” for how best to respond.  The best authority we have is Jesus Himself.  When I’m confronted with a decision, I ask Jesus to give me His wisdom, that I may choose rightly.  If I but turn to Him, He will bless the actions I do.  If I don’t take the time to ask, and rely on my own wisdom, I’m much more likely to fail than to succeed. 

For whatever may trouble us, or cause us to doubt our faith, let us pause and look for God’s words in our hearts and minds, and trust that they will lead us on the right path.  It is not promised to be easy, but it is promised to be the one that brings eternal joy.  May we know that the “Holy One of God” walks right beside us, and will hold us up, no matter where that path may lead.

Closing Prayer: Loving God, thank You for being the foundation of my faith.  May that faith be the foundation for all I do today.  May I be Your instrument, and share that love and faith with all whom I may meet.  Amen.

Action for the Day: Pray for someone whom you know needs the Lord’s guidance today.

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