Gospel Reflection: Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Reading I

Moses spoke to all the people, saying:
"A prophet like me will the LORD, your God, raise up for you
from among your own kin;
to him you shall listen.
This is exactly what you requested of the LORD, your God, at Horeb
on the day of the assembly, when you said,
'Let us not again hear the voice of the LORD, our God,
nor see this great fire any more, lest we die.'
And the LORD said to me, 'This was well said.
I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their kin,
and will put my words into his mouth;
he shall tell them all that I command him.
Whoever will not listen to my words which he speaks in my name,
I myself will make him answer for it.
But if a prophet presumes to speak in my name
an oracle that I have not commanded him to speak,
or speaks in the name of other gods, he shall die.'"

Dt 18:15-20


Then they came to Capernaum,
and on the sabbath Jesus entered the synagogue and taught.
The people were astonished at his teaching,
for he taught them as one having authority and not as the scribes.
In their synagogue was a man with an unclean spirit;
he cried out, "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!"
Jesus rebuked him and said,
"Quiet! Come out of him!"
The unclean spirit convulsed him and with a loud cry came out of him.
All were amazed and asked one another,
"What is this?
A new teaching with authority.
He commands even the unclean spirits and they obey him."
His fame spread everywhere throughout the whole region of Galilee.

Mk 1:21-28


In today’s readings we hear about the authority and power given by God to His prophets. The Hebrew word for prophet is "nabî," which means "interpreter and mouthpiece of God." A prophet serves as the mediator between God and His people, transmitting the inspired message received from God with authority and power. A prophet not only reveals future events, but also corrects and reminds His people of their covenant obligations with God.

In the First Reading, we see the closeness of God, who listens to His people and guides them. Through His prophet Moses, He reveals His intention to provide continuous guidance and wisdom to His people through appointed messengers. God also reminds them of the importance of heeding the words of the prophet, as disobedience would result in severe consequences.

In the Gospel, we see Jesus entering the synagogue, teaching with an authority different from that of the scribes, and driving out an unclean spirit. Here, Jesus is revealed as the fulfillment of the prophetic promise in Deuteronomy. His authority is not only in words but also is demonstrated through actions that display His power over unclean spirits. In Jesus we receive guidance from God, the Father, who ultimately asks that we submit to His authority to dispel the darkness within our lives and lead us into the Truth.

And so, let us today recall an area of our lives where we may need wisdom and guidance, and invite the Lord to come with us and help us see it through His eyes. Let us also consider how docile we are to His authority and the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Are we seeking His help? Are we willing to obey His commands? Do we believe that His commands are truly for our wellbeing? Coming to Him in honesty with these questions will reveal to us the posture of our hearts towards Him and His guidance. Let us also pray for those who are ignoring or not trusting the guidance and protection of our Lord, that they may hear His voice and welcome His guidance into their lives.

Please be assured of my prayers before Our Lord, present in the Most Blessed Sacrament.

+ Bishop Schlert


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