Taught with Authority

Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Reading I: Deuteronomy 18:15-20
Responsorial Psalm: Psalms 95:1-2, 6-7, 7-9
Reading II: 1 Corinthians 7:32-35
Gospel: Mark 1:21-28

One of the striking features of Jesus’ mission is that He taught with authority. He was unlike the Scribes who only quoted texts from the Bible or sayings of great scholars but could not give their own interpretation or applications. Religion was for them a law that ruled supreme. On the other hand, Jesus saw the law only as an instrument that served people’s welfare. He looked for the spirit of the law and he made it a law of love
We accept the authority of some people because we see truth, sincerity and goodness in their lives. Our obedience and their authority are no longer a matter of law or power, but of shared caring. This is what people saw in Jesus. Authority based on law and power relies on outside enforcement, and so people have to adjust to the law, because the law cannot consider people’s situation. People may resent and resist the law, but they are helpless. Jesus’ authority is based on love for people. It does not need enforcement because it appeals to people’s conscience and to the desire of every person to be good and in this way gets their support and cooperation. People find in Jesus new teachings, with authority. Goodness is the best authority.
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