Jesus came to Capernaum with his followers, and on the Sabbath he 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.
A new teaching, because it comes with a divine authority, accompanied by signs. For me personally, neither this authority, nor these signs are important, because they belong to the Lord. I look, rather, at the humanity of Jesus, which belongs and is similar to me, where I can appropriate from Jesus, in my humanity, which can help me to grow in my own humanity, and in this humanity I can meet the divinity of Jesus (a humanity par excellence), in which the world will find the divine authority and God will accomplish the wonderful signs. I know with certitude, that God continues to liberate us from evil and infirmities. However, if I forget to imitate the daily life of Jesus, which is well balanced with contemplation and action, the danger is that I may be led with action, not being inspired in the contemplation.
Jesus is not simply content that there is truth. He is looking for the source and intent of the truth. We all have in our words and actions, a truth, which is very subjective, yet in the intention and source, we can be very objective. The silence that the Lord requires can be applied in our daily lives, when our intentions and sources are not good.
Action of the day: Be contemplative in your action.
“The people were astonished at his teaching, for he taught them as one having authority and not as the scribes.”
+ Fr. Antoni ORIOL i Tataret
(Vic, Barcelona, Spain)
Today, first Tuesday in Ordinary Time, Saint Mark presents Jesus teaching in the synagogue, and immediately he comments: “The people were astonished at his teaching, for he taught them as one having authority and not as the scribes” (Mk 1:21). This is quite an extraordinary comment. On one hand, what His listeners admire is certainly not the doctrine but the Master; it is not what is said, but Who says it. And, on the other hand, it is not the preacher as such but, rather, specifically who He is: Jesus taught “as one having authority”, that is, with legitimate and unimpeachable power. This particularity is further confirmed with of a direct contrast: “He taught them as one having authority and not as the scribes.”
A little later, though, the scene of the man with an evil spirit integrates the doctrinal lesson with an admirable motivation: “What is this? A new teaching with authority” (Mk 1:27). Notwithstanding, we may as well note the description does not refer so much to the contents as it does to its uniqueness: the doctrine is “new”. Here we find another reason for this contrast: Jesus communicates something unheard (no other word can better describe it).
We still add a third remark. His authority comes also from the fact Jesus “commands even the unclean spirits and they obey him.” We are facing here such a deep contrast as with the previous ones: To the Master's authority and to the newness of His doctrine we must add His power against evil spirits.
Brothers! Our faith tells us that this Liturgy of the Word makes us contemporaries of what we have just heard and commenting on. Let us ask ourselves with humble gratitude: Do I fully realize no man has ever spoken the Word of God the Father as Jesus did? Do I feel rich with a message that holds no comparison either? Do I realize what liberating force Jesus and His teachings have in human life and, more specifically, in my life? Touched by the Holy Spirit, let us tell our Redeemer: Jesus-life, Jesus-doctrine, Jesus-victory, please, as the great Raymond Lully liked to say, may we live in a constant “wonder” of You!