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Contemplating today's Gospel

Today's Gospel + homily (in 300 words)

Tuesday of the First Week in Ordinary Time
1st Reading (Heb 2:5-12): It was not to angels that God subjected the world to come, of which we are speaking. Instead, someone has testified somewhere: What is man that you are mindful of him, or the son of man that you care for him? You made him for a little while lower than the angels; you crowned him with glory and honor, subjecting all things under his feet. In “subjecting” all things to him, he left nothing not “subject to him”.

Yet at present we do not see “all things subject to him”, but we do see Jesus “crowned with glory and honor” because he suffered death, he who “for a little while” was made “lower than the angels”, that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone. For it was fitting that he, for whom and through whom all things exist, in bringing many children to glory, should make the leader to their salvation perfect through suffering. He who consecrates and those who are being consecrated all have one origin. Therefore, he is not ashamed to call them “brothers” saying: I will proclaim your name to my brethren, in the midst of the assembly I will praise you.
Responsorial Psalm: 8
R/. You have given your Son rule over the works of your hands.
O Lord, our Lord, how glorious is your name over all the earth! What is man that you should be mindful of him, or the son of man that you should care for him?

You have made him little less than the angels, and crowned him with glory and honor. You have given him rule over the works of your hands, putting all things under his feet.

All sheep and oxen, yes, and the beasts of the field, the birds of the air, the fishes of the sea, and whatever swims the paths of the seas.
Versicle before the Gospel (1Thess 2:13): Alleluia. Receive the word of God, not as the word of men, but as it truly is, the word of God. Alleluia.
Gospel text (Mk 1:21-28): Jesus came to Capernaum with his followers, and on the Sabbath he 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.

“The people were astonished at his teaching, for he taught them as one having authority and not as the scribes.”

Fr. Antoni ORIOL i Tataret (Vic, Barcelona, Spain)

Today, first Tuesday in Ordinary Time, Saint Mark presents Jesus teaching in the synagogue, and immediately he comments: “The people were astonished at his teaching, for he taught them as one having authority and not as the scribes” (Mk 1:21). This is quite an extraordinary comment. On one hand, what His listeners admire is certainly not the doctrine but the Master; it is not what is said, but who says it. And, on the other hand, it is not the preacher as such but, rather, specifically who He is: Jesus taught “as one having authority”, that is, with legitimate and unimpeachable power. This particularity is further confirmed with a direct contrast: “He taught them as one having authority and not as the scribes.”

A little later, though, the scene of the man with an evil spirit integrates the doctrinal lesson with an admirable motivation: “What is this? A new teaching with authority” (Mk 1:27). Notwithstanding, we may as well note the description does not refer so much to the contents as it does to its uniqueness: the doctrine is “new”. Here we find another reason for this contrast: Jesus communicates something unheard (no other word can better describe it).

We still add a third remark. His authority comes also from the fact Jesus “commands even the unclean spirits and they obey him.” We are facing here such a deep contrast as with the previous ones: To the Master's authority and to the newness of His doctrine we must add His power against evil spirits.

Brothers! Our faith tells us that this Liturgy of the Word makes us contemporaries of what we have just heard and commented upon. Let us ask ourselves with humble gratitude: Do I fully realize no man has ever spoken the Word of God the Father as Jesus did? Do I feel rich with a message that holds no comparison either? Do I realize what liberating force Jesus and His teachings have in human life and, more specifically, in my life? Touched by the Holy Spirit, let us tell our Redeemer: Jesus-life, Jesus-doctrine, Jesus-victory, please, as the great Raymond Lully liked to say, may we live in a constant “wonder” of You!

Thoughts on Today's Gospel

  • “Love for God cannot be taught. Knowledge of the love of God does not come from outside. But in the same time when man was composed, a seminal was deposited in us, which possesses from its own the causes of appropriating love.” (Saint Basil the Great)

  • “The novelty of Jesus is that he brings the Word of God, God's love for each of us. Jesus look for people’s hearts. And he seeks to bring God close to people and people close to God.” (Francis)

  • “His works and words will manifest him as ‘the Holy One of God’ (Mk 1:24).” (Catechism Of The Catholic Church, Nº 438)