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4th Sunday in Ordinary Time :: 2009

4th Sunday in Ordinary Time :: 2009



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Published by: SaintJoseph on Jan 30, 2009
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Sunday in OT, February 1, 2009The Freedom of Embracing the Authority of ChristScripture ReadingsFirst Deut 18:15-20Second 1 Cor 7:32-35Gospel Mark 1:21-28
Prepared by: Fr. Jonathan Kalisch, OP1.
Subject Matter 
The freedom Christ brings to all who long for new life and new hope.
Mark begins to set up the dichotomy between the teaching of Jesus and the scribes andPharisees. The demon (like the scribes and Pharisees who should have recognized Him)has knowledge of Jesus, but this alone does not save him.
The Kingdom of God draws near and cannot be separated from the person of Jesus, whoempowered by the Holy Spirit, embodies God’s power.2.
Exegetical Notes
Mark uses the astonishment theme (surprise, wonder, awe, and fear) throughout his gospel(in reaction to Jesus’ teaching, the miracle stories, divine epiphanies, and at the predictionsof the passion) – to weave a rapport with the reader and create a symbolic reaction to thewhole of the Good News.
Authority is seen as the ability to impose a decision with binding force. Jesus’ teaching isfilled with authority because “he speaks of what he know and testifies to what he has seen”(cf. John 3:11). Jesus teaches as the God and Lord of Moses himself. The fact that he canbind Satan through exorcism reveals the full authority of heaven and earth he possesses.
The casting out of demons is a clear sign of the coming of the Messiah – the One morepowerful than demons. “Now is the judgment of this world, now shall the ruler of this worldbe cast out” (John 12:31). This is the first of 4 in Mark: the Gerasene demoniac (5:1-20); theSyrophoenician woman’s daughter (7:24-30); and the boy with the unclean spirit (9:14-29).
The exorcism is the first public act of Jesus’ ministry. Transcendent forces recognize Jesusfor who he is. The power of Jesus’ word is seen not only in the fact that people abandontheir occupations to follow him, but that demonic powers cower before it.
References to the Catechism of the Catholic ChurchCCC #580:
“…In Jesus, the Law no longer appears engraved on tables of stone but ‘upon theheart’ of the Servant who becomes ‘a covenant to the people,’ because he will ‘faithfully bringforth justice.’”
CCC # 549
By freeing some individuals from the earthly evils of hunger, injustice, illness anddeath, Jesus performed messianic signs. Nevertheless he did not come to abolish all evils herebelow, but to free men from the gravest slavery, sin, which thwarts them in their vocation asGod's sons and causes all forms of human bondage.”
CCC # 550:
“The coming of God's kingdom means the defeat of Satan's: ‘If it is by the Spirit of God that I cast out demons, then the kingdom of God has come upon you.’ Jesus' exorcismsfree some individuals from the domination of demons. They anticipate Jesus' great victory over ‘the ruler of this world’. The kingdom of God will be definitively established through Christ'scross: ‘God reigned from the wood.’"
CCC #1673: “
When the Church asks publicly and authoritatively in the name of Jesus Christthat a person or object be protected against the power of the Evil One and withdrawn from hisdominion, it is called exorcism. Jesus performed exorcisms and from him the Church hasreceived the power and office of exorcizing. In a simple form, exorcism is performed at thecelebration of Baptism. The solemn exorcism, called ‘a major exorcism,’ can be performed onlyby a priest and with the permission of the bishop. The priest must proceed with prudence, strictlyobserving the rules established by the Church. Exorcism is directed at the expulsion of demonsor to the liberation from demonic possession through the spiritual authority which Jesusentrusted to his Church. Illness, especially psychological illness, is a very different matter;treating this is the concern of medical science. Therefore, before an exorcism is performed, it isimportant to ascertain that one is dealing with the presence of the Evil One, and not an illness
Patristic Commentary
St. Irenaeus:
“Even the demons cried out, on beholding the Son: ‘I know who you are, theHoly One of God.” Later the devil looking at him and tempting him would say: ‘If you are theSon of God.’ All of these thus recognized the Son and Father, yet without believing. So itwas fitting that the truth should receive testimony from all, and should become a means of  judgment for the salvation not only of those who believe, but also for the condemnation of those who do not believe.”
St. Augustine
: “Compare that with the words of the demons who said almost the same thing:‘We know who you are, the Son of God’ just as Peter had confessed him as ‘Son of God.’ Sowhat is the difference? Peter spoke in love, but the demons in fear…So tell us how faith is tobe defined, if even the devils can believe and tremble? Only the faith that works by love isfaith.”
St. Augustine
: “Faith is mighty, but without love it profits nothing. The devils confessedChrist, but lacking charity it availed nothing. They said, ‘what have we to do with you?’ Theyconfessed a sort of faith, but without love. Hence they were devils. Do not boast of that faiththat puts you on the same level with the devils.”
Examples from the Saints and Other Exemplars
St. Catherine of Siena’s
great desire to be transformed by Christ, was confirmed in her inthe mystical spousal union and the exchange of hearts she had with Christ. In her writings,she expresses the way to Him, “Love is had only by loving.Indeed, “It would be verydispleasing to God if you were to set your heart on something of less value than yourself…for people become what they love.Finally, “Whoever does not go forward, by that very fact isturning back.”6.
Pope Benedict XVI
: “When Jesus speaks of the Kingdom of God, he is quite simplyproclaiming God, and proclaiming him to be the living God, who is able to act concretely inthe world and in history and is even now so acting.”
Pope Benedict XVI
: “He is telling us: ‘God exists’ and ‘God is really God,’ which means thathe holds in his hands the threads of the world. In this sense, Jesus’ message is very simpleand thoroughly God-centered. The new and totally specific thing about his message is thathe is telling us: God is acting now- this is the hour when God is showing himself in history asits Lord, as the living God, in a way that goes beyond anything seen before. ‘Kingdom of God’ is therefore an inadequate translation. It would be better to speak of God’s being-Lord,of his Lordship.”
Pope Benedict XVI
: “Through Jesus’ presence and action, God has here and now enteredactively into history in a wholly new way. The reason why
is the fullness of time (Mk1:15) why
is in a unique sense the time of conversion and penance, as well as the timeof joy, is that in Jesus it is God who draws near to us. In Jesus, God is now the one who actsand who rules as Lord – rules in a divine way, without worldly power, rules through the lovethat reaches ‘to the end’ (Jn 13:1) to the Cross.”
Pope Paul VI
Evangelii nuntiandi 
11: “Christ accomplished this proclamation of the kingdomof God through the untiring preaching of a word which, it will be said, has no equalelsewhere: ‘Here is a teaching that is new, and with authority behind it.’ (Mc 1,27) ‘And hewon the approval of all, and they were astonished by the gracious words that came from hislips. (Lc 4,22) There has never been anybody who has spoken like him.’ (Jn 7,46) His wordsreveal the secret of God, His plan and His promise, and thereby change the heart of manand his destiny.
Pope John Paul II,
Catechesi tradendae
7: “This teaching is not a body of abstract truths. Itis the communication of the living mystery of God. The Person teaching it in the Gospel isaltogether superior in excellence to the ‘masters’ in Israel, and the nature of His doctrinesurpasses theirs in every way because of the unique link between what He says, what Hedoes and what He is. Nevertheless, the Gospels clearly relate occasions when Jesus‘taught.’ ‘Jesus began to do and teach’- with these two verbs, placed at the beginning of thebook of the Acts, St. Luke links and at the same time distinguishes two poles in Christ'smission.”
Pope John Paul II,
Catechesi tradendae
7: “Jesus taught. It is the witness that He gives of Himself: ‘Day after day I sat in the temple teaching.’ It is the admiring observation of theevangelists, surprised to see Him teaching everywhere and at all times, teaching in a manner and with an authority previously unknown: ‘Crowds gathered to him again; and again, as hiscustom was, he taught them’; ‘and they were astonished at his teaching, for he taught themas one who had authority.’ It is also what His enemies note for the purpose of drawing from it

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