First reading Deuteronomy 18:15-20

I will raise up a prophet and put my words into his mouth

Moses said to the people: ‘The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like myself, from among yourselves, from your own brothers; to him you must listen. This is what you yourselves asked of the Lord your God at Horeb on the day of the Assembly. “Do not let me hear again” you said “the voice of the Lord my God, nor look any longer on this great fire, or I shall die”; and the Lord said to me, “All they have spoken is well said. I will raise up a prophet like yourself for them from their own brothers; I will put my words into his mouth and he shall tell them all I command him. The man who does not listen to my words that he speaks in my name, shall be held answerable to me for it. But the prophet who presumes to say in my name a thing I have not commanded him to say, or who speaks in the name of other gods, that prophet shall die.”’
 

Responsorial Psalm 94(95):1-2,6-9

O that today you would listen to his voice! ‘Harden not your hearts.’
 
Come, ring out our joy to the Lord;
  hail the rock who saves us.
Let us come before him, giving thanks,
  with songs let us hail the Lord.
 
Come in; let us bow and bend low;
  let us kneel before the God who made us:
for he is our God and we
  the people who belong to his pasture,
  the flock that is led by his hand.
 
O that today you would listen to his voice!
  ‘Harden not your hearts as at Meribah,
  as on that day at Massah in the desert
when your fathers put me to the test;
  when they tried me, though they saw my work.’
 

Second reading 1 Corinthians 7:32-35

Give your undivided attention to the Lord

I would like to see you free from all worry. An unmarried man can devote himself to the Lord’s affairs, all he need worry about is pleasing the Lord; but a married man has to bother about the world’s affairs and devote himself to pleasing his wife: he is torn two ways. In the same way an unmarried woman, like a young girl, can devote herself to the Lord’s affairs; all she need worry about is being holy in body and spirit. The married woman, on the other hand, has to worry about the world’s affairs and devote herself to pleasing her husband. I say this only to help you, not to put a halter round your necks, but simply to make sure that everything is as it should be, and that you give your undivided attention to the Lord.
 

Gospel Mark 1:21-28

Unlike the scribes, he taught them with authority

Jesus and his disciples went as far as Capernaum, and as soon as the sabbath came he went to the synagogue and began to teach. And his teaching made a deep impression on them because, unlike the scribes, he taught them with authority.
  In their synagogue just then there was a man possessed by an unclean spirit and it shouted, ‘What do you want with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are: the Holy One of God.’ But Jesus said sharply, ‘Be quiet! Come out of him!’ And the unclean spirit threw the man into convulsions and with a loud cry went out of him. The people were so astonished that they started asking each other what it all meant. ‘Here is a teaching that is new’ they said ‘and with authority behind it: he gives orders even to unclean spirits and they obey him.’ And his reputation rapidly spread everywhere, through all the surrounding Galilean countryside.
 

Reflection

A statement carries authority according to two aspects: who is speaking and what is being said. Jesus had both. 

He had authority because of Who He was.  He was the Son of God, the Messiah of God, and the Eternal One who became man on Christmas.  He also had authority due to what He said. He spoke the Father’s Word to us. He spoke with His actions. He himself was a kind, loving person. 

He calls us to speak for Him.  He gives us authority.  For us to exercise this authority we must live as committed Christians.

We all have authority. We have authority as Christians and as Roman Catholics. So often we know that we have a special relationship with the Lord. We particularly experience this in our liturgies and in Eucharistic Adoration.”  

But if we throw away our relationship with the Lord in order to join others in immorality, others see this and no longer give us authority to speak for the Lord. If we are hypocritical, people will not want to hear us speak about Jesus. 

Parents and grandparents have an additional authority. Parents and grandparents have authority due to their position in the family. God tells children to honor their mothers and fathers. 

Grandparents have the authority as patriarchs and matriarchs of their families.  But the authority of parents and grandparents is diminished or even destroyed when they act in ways that are not Christian. 

Jesus did not call us just to do some of the things He did, He called us to be His presence for others. We are called to destroy evil in our world. We cannot do this unless we are determined to be Christ like. 

We have to speak in the way that Jesus spoke. Jesus spoke with authority. He was not like the scribes and Pharisees. He was not two faced. He was not hypocritical. He didn’t have a dark side of his life that he kept hidden. He did not just speak the truth, He was the Truth Incarnate. Jesus gave orders to unclean spirits, and they obeyed Him. It was not just His words that expelled demons. It was the person who spoke those words. 

Today we pray that we use the authority we have received well by living genuine, sincere Christian lives.

Fr Joe Pellegrino