The Gospel according to Mark (1:21-28)
Jesus came to Capernaum with his followers,
and on the sabbath he entered the synagogue and taught.
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.
All were amazed and asked one another,
“What is this?
A new teaching with authority.
He commands even the unclean spirits and they obey him.”
His fame spread everywhere throughout the whole region of Galilee.
Today’s Gospel, from the very beginning of Jesus’ ministry on earth, is a great example of what Jesus does for each of us: He teaches us, and He heals us. Jesus’ Good News can really be boiled down to those two actions, and He did them over and over through the Gospels.
Jesus teaches us in various ways. He does so, certainly, through His word, recounted in the Gospels, and in the Scriptures in general. He does so through the words of the priest, applying those words to our current day. And He does so through His Holy Spirit, which He promised would guide us into all truth. But, that only works if we take time to listen! I have to take that time to pause.
I recall in our Diaconate Formation, learning to pray the Liturgy of the Hours. I remember being reminded of the “importance of the pause”. It told me that I should wait a bit, and listen, not just rush through. That same lesson applies in all of my life – now if I were actually consistent with the “pause”, that would be great!
And, then we have the second aspect of Jesus’ Good News – healing. Jesus longs for each of us to be whole. He longs for whatever causes darkness in our hearts to be removed and replaced with His own light. He won’t force us to accept the light, though. No, He will wait for us to ask. My prayer each day is that I recognize His voice calling me to seek that light, even when things seem so dark. And, if I fail to seek that light, then may I realize it and try to do better tomorrow. For we can’t share the light unless we allow it to grow within us first!
Action for the Day: Take time today to “pause” and listen for the voice of the Holy Spirit. Don’t underestimate the power of the pause!