Thursday, January 26, 2012

FOURTH SUNDAY OF THE YEAR

TEACHING WITH AUTHORITY

“People who are masters in their own house are never tyrants”. Napoleon

First Reading (Deut 18:15-20) Moses foretells the coming of a prophet who will speak God’s word to the people.
Second Reading (I Cor 7:32-35). Paul urges everyone, but especially those who are celibates to give their undivided attention to the Lord.
Gospel (Mk 1:21-28). The prophecy of Moses is fulfilled in Jesus.

Here Mark begins to tell us the kind of things Jesus did in proclaiming the kingdom.
Deuteronomy presents Moses as ideal prophet (First Reading). The prophet can never speak on his own authority, but speaks on behalf of God. The Jews believed that God would raise up in the last days a prophet like Moses. The early Christians regarded Jesus as the awaited prophet. His teaching was given with authority and confirmed by miracles, the sign that God was with him.

In today’s Gospel we see how Jesus spoke with authority, and how the ordinary people recognized this.
Today we have a glut of words from public figures that take us no where; except making noises and voices to our ears. What they say in public is so depressing and energy sacking. Very few speak with authority. People will obey them because they are in authority but they are never regarded as having authority.
Most of our leaders lack credibility; they themselves don’t believe what they are saying. That in which I do not believe I cannot adequately say, no matter how often I repeat the words.

Let us put in mind that as we reflect upon authority our character too is very important as you read this reflection, this can be a very damaging thing of all.
Emerson put it like this: ‘Do not say things. What you are stands over you and thunders so loudly that I cannot hear what you say to the contrary.’ Jesus was a true teacher different from other teachers of the day. Teachers at Jesus’ time would speak their own words he always first started by quoting their authority.

Have you met people who speak as if you have to quote them there and then “do you know who I am? Do you know where you are? “Do you know whom I represent?” those are arrogant questions which deserve no response. If you have authority people will see it you don’t need to prove it to anyone. The asked questions give the impression of official position in a given society. But where did Jesus get his authority one may ask? It came from the fact that Jesus spoke the truth. “One word of truth weighs the whole world”. (Russian proverb)
Besides, his teaching was fresh, direct, and had a transparency about it. We can site some examples: “No one cannot serve two masters… A city on the hill cannot be hidden… A camel cannot pass through the eye of a needle… you cannot pluck figs from thistles.’

St. Mark says that ‘his teaching made a deep impression on the people,’ he doesn’t tell us what Jesus said. This seems to suggest that Jesus himself was the sermon.
Ideally words should always be preceded by deeds. When people have done something and they begin to speak, people listen. Their words carry enormous weight, they have authority in them. The weakness of having many words comes from that the fat that they are not preceded, or accomplished or even followed by words.

At the root of every innumerable wrongs in our world is the discrepancy between word and deed. It is the weakness of the Churches, parties, and individuals. It gives people and institutions split personalities.
Lord, grant that what we have said with our lips, we may believe with our hearts and practice with our lives.

“No authority has power to impose error, and if it resists the truth, the truth must be upheld until it is admitted”. Lord Acton

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