January 10th, 2023

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, we return to Ordinary Time, and here in Mark’s Gospel, we hear of the first of Jesus’ actions.  We hear of two actions – Jesus teaches and Jesus heals.  Those two actions are completely connected in Mark’s account of Jesus’ story, as we will see throughout the rest of Ordinary Time.

Jesus teaches – He shares the wisdom of His Father, and notice that Mark highlights that Jesus does what other teachers of His day did not do – He did not rely on someone else’s authority.  Rabbis of that time were limited in their own authority to the authority of the ones who taught them.  Jesus does not have that limitation and the response of the crowds is clear: they were “astonished”, because Jesus taught as one with authority and not the same as the other teachers and scribes.

Jesus heals – He shows His control over even the unclean spirits.  Mark’s Gospel is all about action, so we will see many accounts of Jesus showing His healing power.  There were many physical healings, but Jesus also forgave sins, which was the most spiritual healing, in that it reconnected those who were healed to the God who created them.  Jesus seeks to heal each of us, too, from whatever may drag us down.

Now, we who are Jesus’ followers are also called to do those two things: teach and heal.  We teach by our example, and by the kind actions that we do each day.  Showing mercy, showing forgiveness, showing kindness and compassion.  Those were the actions of Jesus and they should be ours, too.  We heal by doing what we can to restore what is broken.  We ask forgiveness if we have hurt another, and we grant forgiveness to those who ask it of us.  Doing so heals relationships, and helps them to become stronger. 

It’s like our pastor’s verse that he chose for his ordination to the priesthood: “You have been told what is good, and what the Lord requires of you: Only to do justice, and to love goodness, and to walk humbly with your God.” (Micah 6:8).  May each of us teach and heal by following those words!

Action for the Day:

Seek to do a good act for another, just for the sake of being a source of light and hope in the world today!

If you would like to hear this reflection, click the link below! 

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