Authority. Authority is the theme for this Sunday’s Gospel.[1] Not the “powers that be” in the establishment, the government or any other earthly powers’ authority but that of Jesus. This authority having been given to him by the Father with the Holy Spirit, who is the anointing, so that “His works and words will manifest him as ‘the Holy One of God.’”[2]


So here is Jesus in Capernaum, a small village on the Sea of Galilee, teaching in the synagogue on the Sabbath. The people are impressed with his teaching, for “unlike the scribes, he taught them with authority.[3] What does this mean exactly?


Well, St. Bede the Venerable explains that “The Scribes themselves taught the people what was written in Moses and the Prophets: but Jesus as the God and Lord of Moses himself, by the freedom of His own will, either added those things which appeared wanting in the Law, or altered things as He preached to the people; as we read in Matthew, It was said to them, but I say to you.”[4]


Jesus goes on to further impress the people for he then delivers a man who has an unclean spirit. It is interesting that the unclean spirit is able to identity Jesus, as the Holy One, the Messiah, the Son of God, the one who has complete power of evil. Jesus’ disciples and others do not always have this clear-cut understanding.[5] In fact Jesus’ identity was revealed over time, finally with his Resurrection.


Jesus’ “reputation rapidly spread everywhere, through all the surrounding Galilean countryside.[6]Famous figures’ reputations can also rapidly spread through social media and other forms of communication. But what are they famous for? Not always for the right reasons. Our life-styles are called to reflect that of Jesus, the Holy One, we have authority through our Baptism to act out in words and deeds as sons and daughters of the Holy One. We may not be healing bodies or banishing evil spirits, but we can still be instruments of the tremendous love of the Father, received through the Son in the power of the Holy Spirit.


Try it.


Sr. Rosaleen Shaw OP                     


[1] Mk.1:21-28

[2] Catechism of the Catholic Church #438

[3] Mk.1:22


[5] -year/sunday-connection/fourth-sunday-of-ordinary-time-b-sunday-connection

[6] Mk.1:28

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