Gospel Reflection Jan 31 – Deacon Frank
Sunday, January 31
Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Mark 1: 21 – 28
Then they came to Capernaum,
and on the sabbath Jesus 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.
Many think that prophecy is solely about predicting the future. While this may define some aspects of a prophet’s resume, often the primary concern of the Sunday prophets has to do with what is happening right now.
In this weekend’s Gospel, Jesus, the Son of God, appears as a prophet amid his followers. Jesus’ authoritative nature which stands out forcefully when speaking on Yahweh’s behalf is clear of the uniqueness of his task: “All were amazed and asked one another. What is this? A new teaching with authority’…His fame spread everywhere throughout the whole region of Galilee.”
Whether through prophets, apostolic letters, or his own son (Jesus), God is constantly speaking to us His word of truth, direction, and encouragement. He invites us to take His word to heart so that we might be strengthened and healed.
Most believers don’t think of themselves as prophets. This is especially true when they consider the menacing prophets from the Old Testament. They cringe at the over-the-top bizarre lifestyle of Elijah, Isaiah, Jonah, and John the Baptist, to name a few. Yet within the baptismal ritual following soon after the cleansing waters are poured over the newly baptized, prophets are mentioned. A priest or deacon takes the sacred chrism and says these words: “I anoint you with the Chrism of Salvation. As Jesus was anointed priest, prophet, and king so may you also live always as a member of His body.”
As Catholic Christians, we are called to be that prophetic voice in our families, at school, at work, on the team, in our neighborhoods, and in our community – wherever we go, wherever God sends us. Where can you be the voice of Jesus? What words will you say? May the gift of the Eucharist strengthen us always to be his voice of inclusion, forgiveness, and love.
-Deacon Frank Iannarino