First reading 1 Thessalonians 5:1-6,9-11

Keep strengthening one another

You will not be expecting us to write anything to you, brothers, about ‘times and seasons’, since you know very well that the Day of the Lord is going to come like a thief in the night. It is when people are saying, ‘How quiet and peaceful it is’ that the worst suddenly happens, as suddenly as labour pains come on a pregnant woman; and there will be no way for anybody to evade it.
  But it is not as if you live in the dark, my brothers, for that Day to overtake you like a thief. No, you are all sons of light and sons of the day: we do not belong to the night or to darkness, so we should not go on sleeping, as everyone else does, but stay wide awake and sober. God never meant us to experience the Retribution, but to win salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us so that, alive or dead, we should still live united to him. So give encouragement to each other, and keep strengthening one another, as you do already.

Responsorial Psalm 26(27):1,4,13-14

I am sure I shall see the Lord’s goodness in the land of the living.
The Lord is my light and my help;
  whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the stronghold of my life;
  before whom shall I shrink?
There is one thing I ask of the Lord,
  for this I long,
to live in the house of the Lord,
  all the days of my life,
to savour the sweetness of the Lord,
  to behold his temple.
I am sure I shall see the Lord’s goodness
  in the land of the living.
Hope in him, hold firm and take heart.
  Hope in the Lord!

Gospel Luke 4:31-37 

‘I know who you are: the Holy One of God’

Jesus went down to Capernaum, a town in Galilee, and taught them on the sabbath. And his teaching made a deep impression on them because he spoke with authority.
  In the synagogue there was a man who was possessed by the spirit of an unclean devil, and it shouted at the top of its voice, ‘Ha! 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 devil, throwing the man down in front of everyone, went out of him without hurting him at all. Astonishment seized them and they were all saying to one another, ‘What teaching! He gives orders to unclean spirits with authority and power and they come out.’ And reports of him went all through the surrounding countryside.

To be people of authority

“…his teaching made a deep impression on them because his word carried authority” and “What is it in his words? He gives orders to unclean spirits with authority and power and they come out”. The word “authority” appears twice in today’s gospel. What makes Jesus a person of authority? Jesus is a person of authority because He is filled with the Holy Spirit. Annonited and strengthened by the Spirit of God, He makes people to be free. By living in freedom, they can grow and be alive with God’s life and love within them.
We often wrongly associate authority as the power to control people and make them do what we want. Let us look at Jesus and how He exercises His authority. He liberates us from constant fear, self-centredness, anger and resentment. Instead, He empowers us to grow as persons. Today, we are called to do the same. May we, filled with the Holy Spirit, have the authority to enable those around us to live abundantly.
Reflective question:
Do I exercise my authority by enriching the lives of those around me?
Acknowledgment: Reflections are based on “Prayer for Living: The Word of God for Daily Prayer Year A” by Sr Sandra Seow FMVD.