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Doctrines & Morals
 
 
 
Homilies/Reflections

What have you
By FR JULIUS OLAITAN

4th Sunday B

 

WHAT HAVE YO TO DO WITH US?

 

My dear brothers and sisters in Christ, let us take the Gospel today as a challenge to our way of life. What has Jesus to do with us? Has he come to destroy us? Has he come to take away what makes us happy? How can we respond to his presence in and around us? Should we be scared to entrust ourselves to him?

 

First Reading  (Deuteronomy 18: 15 - 20)

 

This reading tells us about the role and the authority of the prophet of God. The people of Israel had gone to the mountain at Sinai to listen to the voice of God and the sight was so fearful that they turned and said to Moses, we do not want God to speak to us again, you go up the mountain and bring us words from God and whatever you say to us we shall obey. “When the people witnessed the thunder and lightning, the trumpet blast and the mountain smoking, they all feared and trembled. So they took up a position much farther away and said to Moses, ‘You speak to us and we will listen; but let not God speak to us, or we will die.”(Ex 20:18)  

 

The prophet is a man called by God himself to be his mouthpiece to the people. He is a man, a brother, a friend to those, to whom he has been sent but not chosen or elected by the people.  He is expected to communicate the words of God faithfully to the people. What kind of authority had the prophet, what type of impression was he able to make on the people? That depends mainly on whether the prophet transmits faithfully the message of God. But if he spreads abroad his own ideas and views or invents things saying they are from God, he is bound to fail and he will not make any serious impression on the people. His words will carry no weight, they will be in vain.

 

In today’s passage Moses assures the people that God was going to raise another prophet like himself (who was considered a prophet par excellence) for them, from among them. It is their duty to listen and follow his instructions. Today, we are all prophets by the fact of our baptism, how deep is the impression we are able to make on people in different spheres of life where we find ourselves. Do we actually look at ourselves as prophets and messengers of God in the renewal, reformation and the attempt to build a better nation, a better world?

 

Second Reading (1Corinthians 7: 32-35)

 

Reflecting on Marriage within the context of the reign of God, St Paul discussed the trials and temptations of daily life as potential obstacles that the celibate person might avoid. For him, “the world as it is now is passing away.” However one's adult vocation should be chosen in prayerful recognition that each person has a particular gift from God. Continuing with the theme of detachment, Paul feels that those who are unmarried are more likely to devote themselves to the service of the Lord. Such people he says can work with undivided attention while it is normal for the married to be concerned about their spouses.

 

There is no doubt about it that our brothers and sisters in Christ living consecrated lives make great contributions to our society through a vast number of ministries. They dedicate themselves to the service of the Gospel of Christ in a manner that clearly contradicts the search for worldly things by the vows they profess and live. They teach in our schools, take care of the poor and the sick and bring compassion and the love of Christ to those shunned by society; others lead lives of prayer in contemplation for the world.

 

 

Gospel (Mark 1:21-28)

 

Jesus, with his disciples and in faithfulness to the law, goes to the synagogue, where the gathering of the community gave him the opportunity to speak and teach the general public who had gathered to hear the word of God. This visit to the synagogue comes with some striking lessons for us.  

 

First of all, Mark places the proclamation of the good news within the continuity of the Jewish tradition; Jesus is not in any way separating the people from the Law and the prophets, he has come as a fulfilment of them all.

 

Mark also notes the reaction of the people. It was a feeling of astonishment. The style of Jesus baffled his listeners. He did not claim credentials from the chain of revered teachers yet he exudes a lot of authority just as the scriptures declared about Moses.

 

His teaching came with authority which was also accompanied by the miracles that he worked as a demon acknowledged his divine authority, “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!”  

 

No doubt, there are many who are tormented by their own very consciences and their way of life. They are often very scared to pray, to study their Bible and even to go to confession. They are scared that Jesus might rebuke them, or cause a change in their way of life. They are sometimes troubled about what God wants from them. It is possible that the evil and sin in your life gives you some temporary happiness. That the wrongs you do seem to provide you some level of security and for that reason you are afraid to give them up. This demoniac from his own words, knew what Jesus was capable of bringing about in him, but he was hesitant. Jesus has not come to take away your joy and happiness, in fact he has come to save you from that, which holds you captive, and prevents you from seeing what true joy and happiness is all about. Jesus told his disciple, “Come to me all you who labour and are heavy laden and I will give you rest, shoulder my yoke and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble of heart and you will find rest for your souls, for my yoke is easy and my burden light.” (Mtt. 11:28-30)

 

Jesus delivered the man from the evil spirit that had caused him so much pain and the people immediately realised he was different from what they have known of their teachers. He taught in a new way and backed it with authority over unclean spirits. We are called to do the same. As Christians, we derive the authority to preach the good news from our Baptism. There we took on the three offices of Christ as priest, prophet and king. To teach with authority, we must first stand our grounds on the truth of the Gospel in order to have the courage and moral authority to condemn the evils in the world. That was why Jesus gave his disciples authority over unclean spirits and every form of diseases.(Mtt. 10:1)

 

As you go about your activities this week, live in such a way that your life becomes a prophetic message to those around you.

 

Let us pray: O God, give us the courage to give up the evil that is in us and to stand on the truth of your word. Amen. May the Almighty God bless you, the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen.

 

Remain blessed!

 

 
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