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.
The calendar says we are in the 22nd Week of Ordinary Time, but if you attend daily Mass, or listen to these reflections, you may be thinking, wait.. weren’t we right near the end of the Gospel of Matthew last week? Now, even though we are in September, we are pretty much at the start of Jesus’ ministry here in the Gospel of Luke this week. You would be right on both counts! I think we return to the start of Jesus’ ministry at this point, just to remind us about those early days, and in today’s reading in particular, we are reminded about Jesus’ authority, and how folks reacted to it.
Authority is a curious thing. As you probably know, technology is my “other” job. I’ve worked with companies online about as long as there’s been an “online”. Online, anyone can be an authority in anything. Some years back, when I was between jobs, I was encouraged to start a tech blog (after all, I’d been working in the technology/IT field for quite some number of years by then). Doing so was putting myself out there as an “authority” on some of the mundane technology questions of the day. Was I *really* an authority? Well, maybe in some limited way.
That whole realm has exploded in recent years, especially when it comes even to such a basic thing as the news. There are countless websites out there that “report” on the news, but how do we, the undiscerning reader, know that they are telling just enough of the truth to make us think a certain way? I found a website online called “Allsides.com”, which purports to “rate” news sites (of all types) for whether or not their coverage is biased in some way. I suppose it is a helpful site, provided that you trust the “authority” of that site to be impartial about the bias of these other sites.
In our modern day, we may feel like we need guidance in our faith lives, too. We have no shortage of information to guide us in questions of faith (online and otherwise). But, what we have that a site like “Allsides.com” does not have is the assurance of the authority that Jesus gave His Church. What better authority can we possibly need? We just have to stop relying on others to guide us who may not always have our best interests at heart. Why not turn to the one who does have only our best interests in mind and who wants us ultimately to be with Him forever in heaven? Seems to me that is the best authority we can ever find!
Action for the Day:
If you are facing some question of faith, ask God right now to help you to trust in Him and the authority of His Church to show you the answer you need,. And, if that answer does not seem to come as quickly as you want, ask God to give you the virtue of patience and trust that the answer will come to you in God’s time, and that you will be willing to hear it when it arrives!
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