Sunday Gospel reflection: Christ’s voice still speaks to us

Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B

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“A new teaching with authority!” What did it mean for those in the synagogue who described Jesus’ teaching with that unusual word? And right here, in this moment, what does it mean to speak “with authority”?

The authority of Jesus’ teaching refers to the power and dignity with which he spoke. It is a power beyond the right Jesus had to teach in the synagogue. It acknowledges his personal call to offer a “new teaching.” Jesus bravely enters into this God-granted authority: he exerts power over unclean spirits and heals in the synagogue on the Sabbath. Jesus clearly has a sense of his authority. He knows who he is and what he is about, and his listeners are amazed. They ask, “What is this?”

We also ask, “What is this?” We hear Moses’ advice about heeding the words of God’s prophets and consider our own call to be a prophet. The psalmist encourages us to keep our hearts soft and open to God’s word. Paul would be delighted if we all claimed our God-granted power and dignity to live the life to which we have been called. In doing so, we would discover our own authority.

When Jesus spoke in the synagogue, it was new and it was with authority. Today, Jesus speaks to us in Word and Sacrament. It is still new and he still speaks with authority. We are blessed.

— Brenda Merk Hildebrand


Readings:

Deuteronomy 18:15–20

Psalm: 95:1–2, 6–7, 7–9

1 Corinthians 7:32–35

Mark 1:21–28

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