Saturday, January 31, 2009
4TH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME
4TH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME – B
"A prophet like me will the Lord, your God, raise up for you from
among your own kinsmen; 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 kinsmen, and will put my words into his
mouth; he shall tell them all that I command him. If any man 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.'
1 CORINTHIANS 7:32-35
I should like you to be free of anxieties. An unmarried man is anxious
about the things of the Lord, how he may please the Lord. But a
married man is anxious about the things of the world, how he may
please his wife, and he is divided. An unmarried woman or a virgin is
anxious about the things of the Lord, so that she may be holy in both
body and spirit. A married woman, on the other hand, is anxious about
the things of the world, how she may please her husband. I am telling
you this for your own benefit, not to impose a restraint upon you, but
for the sake of propriety and adherence to the Lord without
Then they came to Capernaum, 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.
In one of his first appearances on a significant day such as the
Sabbath, Jesus creates such an impact on people as they are left
dumbfounded and astonished. In particular, they were impressed when
Jesus shows authority in driving out the demon.
Many exegetes (biblical scholars) say that this first miracle of Jesus
is important for it underscores a clear and unequivocal message: Good
triumphs over evil. With the coming of Jesus, the light conquers the
darkness. Jesus reigns over everything. The evil one will try to get
one over Jesus but Jesus will inevitably come out as winner.
It is then not surprising that the evil spirit is able to recognize
Jesus immediately. Whether evil spirits exist or not is something that
is always contested. Some of the terrible sufferings that people are
made to endure by the inhuman behavior of individuals and groups are
hard to explain otherwise. And, while we often look on helpless,
somehow we are part of it ourselves.
In the time of Jesus, if any person was sick, or acted in an
"abnormal" way, they were said to have an evil spirit. It was natural
to think that people such as epileptics and mentally disturbed people
were the victims of some force that had invaded their bodies. The
spirit had taken over their speech and movements and thus they are
considered as possessed. Whether these evil spirits are real or not is
difficult to say. Today, we most probably have a simple medical
diagnosis. However, there are people who are convinced that there are
forms of possession. The point is that they were healed, made whole
again, by Jesus and liberated from their affliction.
In the time of Jesus, people really believed in the existence of all
kinds of forces. These forces were the source of great and even
paralyzing fears. What Jesus does is to liberate people from their
fears. It was not the evil spirit that was the problem so much as the
victim's fear of that spirit. It is not objective reality that limits
our freedom and effectiveness but the way we perceived it.
Jesus shows no fear in the face of the spirit in the synagogue. "Be
quiet! Come out of him!" The man is thrown into convulsions but he is
free. And what is really important is that he feels free.
What are our fears? What spirits are we afraid of? What are the
things, the persons, and the places which prevent us from doing what
we really want to do, from being the person we really want to be? It
is important that we identify our fears and that we see them within
ourselves and not simply blame others for them. Once we recognize them
within ourselves, we can ask Jesus to help us drop them. Let us put
ourselves under his authority and he will liberate us.
The people in the synagogue are simply astounded. "Here is teaching
that is new and with authority behind it. He gives orders even to
unclean spirits -- and they obey him." No wonder his name rapidly
becomes known all over.
This is the kind of authority which Jesus wields. Jesus did not come
to rule and control us. He came, not to be served but to serve. He
came, above all, to make us free, so that in our freedom, we could
generate all the productive and growth energies within us and be alive
with the life of God within ourselves. He freed us from all the `evil
spirits' of fear, compulsions, narrow self-centeredness, anger,
resentment, hostility and violence which prevent us from truly
enjoying the experience of being alive. "I have come that they may
have life, life in
May his presence console and encourage us to face our challenges with
courage, perseverance, and a newfound freedom.
We pray …
… for a deep and profound respect for life, especially for the
… for the healing of: Sophia Gonzalez
… for the personal intentions and guidance of: Josheil Dapo and
… for the eternal repose of the soul of Lino Castelo. Eternal rest
grant unto him and may perpetual light shine upon him. May he and all
the dearly departed rest in peace.
… for all the prayer intentions in the MTQ Dailyprayer Diary.
- Birthday: Dr. Jennifer Chua
- Birthday: John Henry Dee
- Birthday: Maria Mun Pi
- In Memoriam (+): Evelyn C. Ong
… for the healing and peace of all families
Finally, we pray for one another, for those who have asked our prayers
and for those who need our prayers the most.
Have a good day!
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