Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time (B)

Let's see, cast your mind back over the gospel incident we have just read and ask yourself ‘What were the words, what was the teaching, that prompted people to marvel at the authority of the Lord?' There were only six words reported: Quiet! Come out of him! [1]

It was not so much what Jesus said but the power with which he said it; his words were full of power; he could do anything with a single and plain word.

To a demon, he could say: be quiet, and the demon would be quiet; come out of him, and he would come out.

To the leper: be cured; to the cripple: get up and walk; to the deaf and dumb man: be opened; to the dead Lazarus: come out.

Jesus could also say to a sinner: Your sins are forgiven; to a fig tree: May no fruit ever come from you again; to bread and wine: This is my Body, this is my Blood

The people were astonished at the words of Jesus. Jesus’ words have power because they are God’s words which cannot be opposed or sidestepped. This is what left a deep impression on the people.

"Ok Father, we know this very well, tells us something new". Yes: we know all this now but in the synagogue on that Sabbath which the Gospel speaks of, the people were just beginning to discover the true identity of this man.

And what about the demon-possessed man. The Lord says: Come out of him. There are no long incantations with song and dance, just a simple order: Come out! And the demon leaves the man and the man is free. And this is our lesson for today: Jesus’ word is always liberating; it actually gives us the freedom to which it calls us. This is the reason Jesus is greater than the Law: Jesus always provides the power to reach the goals he sets us. As the saying goes: His Will will not take you where his grace cannot keep you.

Let us reflect on it: His Will will not take you where his grace cannot keep you. In other words: Jesus had spoken to the demon and the demon was constrained to obey. But Jesus’ words were also heard by the people standing round. The word of God is all things for all men and when it is spoken there are no ‘bystanders’.

My brother, my sister, the Word of God cannot be ignored. It can be listened to or it can be disobeyed but it can never be ignored. That is why Jesus’ word is judgment. May be you remember the passage very well: he who rejects me and refuses my words has his judge already: the word itself that I have spoken will be his judge on the last day[2].

Jesus came to draw all men to himself.

The word of God is, indeed, alive and active. It is still powerful, liberating, empowering and judging, even today. It comes to each one of us in this Mass, seeking us out, lighting up the hidden, dark places of our soul, determining whether we belong to his flock or not, calling us to become his.

May our astonishment become a simple and total yes

[1] 4th Sunday in Ordinary Time - Year B, Readings: Deuteronomy 18:15-20; 1Corinthians 7:32-35; Mark 1:21-28
[2] John 12:48
Ilustration: Magdeburg Ivories, Healing of the man possessed by demons. 

Y entonces uno se queda con la Iglesia, que me ofrece lo único que debe ofrecerme la Iglesia: el conocimiento de que ya estamos salvados –porque esa es la primera misión de la Iglesia, el anunciar la salvación gracias a Jesucristo- y el camino para alcanzar la alegría, pero sin exclusividades de buen pastor, a través de esa maravilla que es la confesión y los sacramentos. La Iglesia, sin partecitas.

laus deo virginique matris