Homily Fourth Sunday Year B Jesus speaks and acts with authority

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Homily Fourth Sunday Year B

 

Reading 1: During the early part of their sojourn in the desert, the Israelites were afraid of God. They saw his signs and wonders. They were overwhelmed and fearful. They asked Moses to act as a mediator between them and God. God promised that he would, after Moses, speak to the people, not directly, but through another prophet. What is the role of a prophet? A prophet is a spokesperson for God, saying the message of God, not in his own name as prophet, but in the name of the Lord.

 

Though there were many prophets over the following centuries, some authentic, some false, there was an expectation on the part of the people that God would sent the prophet to them. Recall the question asked of John the Baptist by the religious leaders of the day. “Are you the Christ, Elijah, or the prophet?” Recall the response of the apostles to Jesus’ question: “Who do people say that I am?” Their response: “John the Baptist, Elijah or the prophet.”

 

What were the signs of the prophet? He would be a prophet like Moses, who was in intimate relationship with God; who spoke the words of God to the people; one chosen by God from among the people; one who must be listened to. At the same time, Moses indicated that there will be false prophets as well; ones who presume to speak in God’s name a word not commanded or from God; or one who speaks in the name of other gods.

 

Prophecy is one of the gifts of the Holy Spirit. When Jesus preached and taught he did prophetically. For it was the message from God.

 

Gospel: Last Sunday, the Gospel of Mark told us that Jesus began his public ministry by proclaiming a theme statement. “The time of fulfillment is at hand. Repent and believe in the Gospel.” Then Mark told us he invited his first disciples to follow him. 

 

Today, the focus of Jesus ministry is on his role as teacher and his power over unclean spirits. But something else is clearly different.  He teaches with authority and not in the name of some rabbi. He was not formed by another rabbi, but by his Father, God.

 

Secondly, in his humanity, because of the anointing power of the Holy Spirit, he has power over evil spirits. He has come to break the power of Satan over humanity, to crush its head. This is the first instance of the battle between Jesus and Satan, found in Mark’s Gospel. The evil spirit recognizes that Jesus is the Holy One of God and is compelled to acknowledge this, not in faith, but as a fact. The evil spirit didn’t know that Jesus was truly God and truly Man, but only as one sent by God.

 

What does this passage teach us?  The work of Jesus continues today. His teaching are the truths that God wants us to hear and act upon.  We must not be like some of the people of his day. They heard the message and saw the confirmation in the signs and wonders he performed. But they still did not act only his word and become a disciple.

 

Another message is that the stronghold that Satan still has over us can only be broken by Jesus. Jesus desires to break these strongholds, but only when we ask him to. The evil one cannot hide from Jesus, but must manifest itself and come under the authority of Jesus.

 

Reading 2: Paul begins by saying we should be free of anxieties.  But if you are anxious be anxious about the ultimate things in life. What is that? Those are the things pertaining to our relationship with God: our life now and our life in eternity. How conscious were we this past week of our relationship with God? How conscious did we make decisions with this relationship as the measuring stick? Even the things dealing with our vocational or career, we need to see them from God’s perspective.

 

For the married person to be solely anxious about pleasing the spouse without reference to God is good but not great. But when the reason I am doing what I am dong for the other is will this be pleasing to God, then I am doing something that is great and good.

 

The Lordship of Jesus Christ as a conscious reality in one’s life was the ultimate reason for Paul’s ministry. There are so many things that we have to do or choose to do because of the circumstances of life. But if God is not the reason, what benefit has that been? To do something without reference to God and to something in reference to God is the difference between a saint and just a human being. To see the God moment or just to see the moment is to savor the joy of life rather than be overwhelmed by the burdens of life. In Paul’s words: “Whatever you do, whether in word or action, do it in the name of Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”


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