Homily Fourth Sunday Year B Jesus' preaches and heals

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Homily Fourth Sunday Year B

Reading I: During the early part of their sojourn in the desert, the Israelites were afraid of God. They saw his signs and wonders and they were overwhelmed and fearful. They asked that Moses act as a mediator between them and God. God promised that after Moses he would not speak to the people directly any longer but through a prophet, like Moses.

What is a prophet? He is one who is a spokesperson for God, saying the message of God, not in his own name, but in the name of God.

There were many prophets over the centuries following, some authentic and some false. As time went on, the people were expecting The prophet. Recall the question asked of John the Baptist by the religious leaders. “Are you the Christ, Elijah, or The prophet?”  Recall the response of the apostles to Jesus’ question, “Who do people say I am?”  “John the Baptizer, Elijah, The prophet.”

What was the sign of the prophet? Like Moses, a prophet was in intimate relationship with God; he spoke the words of God to the people; he may work signs and wonders; he was a mediator between God and his people. He was one chosen and called by God; one from among the people; one who must be listened to.

At the same time, Moses indicated that there would be false prophets as well. What is a false prophet? He is one who presumes to speak in God’s name a word not commanded or from God; or he may speak in the name of other gods.

Prophecy is a gift of the Holy Spirit. When Jesus was baptized, he experienced a fresh anointing of the gifts of the Spirit. One of these was prophesy.  He was The prophet that God promised to send. When he preached and taught, he spoke prophetically many times. His message was from God. As he verified: “I say only what the Father tells me to say; I do the works of my Father.”

Gospel: Last Sunday the Gospel of Mark told us that Jesus began his public ministry by proclaiming prophetically the kingdom of God was at hand. Then he invited his first disciples to follow him.

Today the focus of his ministry is on his role as teacher and his power over unclean spirits. He is different. He teaches with authority, not in name of another rabbi, who formed him. No, he teaches in the name of God, who sent him.

Secondly, in his humanity because of the anointing power of the Holy Spirit, he has power over evil spirits. In fact, he has come to break the power of Satan over humanity, to crush its head.

Jesus has already been confronted by Satan in the temptations in the desert. Now, Jesus confronts Satan. The evil one recognizes that Jesus is the Holy One of God and is compelled to acknowledge this, not in faith, but in fact.

What does this passage teach us? The strongholds that Satan still has over us can only be broken by Jesus. Jesus desires to break them, 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. We are not to fear the evil one. Rather, we need to turn in trust under the protection of Jesus.

Reading 2: One of the tactics of the evil one is to cause us to become overly anxious and fearful about situations. Paul reminds us that we should be free of anxieties. But if we are to be anxious about anything, be anxious about pleasing the Lord.  In another words, Paul is saying put first things first.

We spend a lot of time pleasing others. How much effort do we exert in pleasing the Lord and being pleasing to the Lord?  What is our priority? God or others? The reason we are to love others is because of our love of God. The reason we do good to others should be because we want to be pleasing and faithful to the Lord.

Whether married or single we are called to be anxious about the things of the Lord, how we may please the Lord. If we do, we will adhere to the Lord without distractions.

The Lordship of Jesus Christ as a conscious reality in one’s life is the ultimate reason for Paul’s ministry. He summed his teaching about this with this statement: “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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