Summary: Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time.
Power, Authority, and Love
My dear sisters and brothers,
“Then they came to Capernaum,
and on the sabbath Jesus 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.”
It is said:
‘When you want to rule the people around, you need only authority of love;
You need authority of power when you want to harm the people around.’
‘Jesus taught them as one having authority’…What did Jesus do with his authority?
Jesus uses his authority in teaching…
We can understand Jesus’ authority in two senses:
1. Teaching with authority of love,
2. Teaching with authority of power, &
3. Not as the Scribes.
1. Teaching with authority of love:
The Mission of Jesus is authority of love.
In other words, we can express that it is the kingdom of love.
That is the reason, Jesus approaches everyone with love and compassion.
To have authority of love, we need to accept ourselves wholeheartedly.
In the words of Jesus: ‘Love your neighbour as yourself.’
Who are our neighbours?
All those who are powerless, loveless, lonely, marginalised, poor, downtrodden, needy, hungry, sick, possessed by material devils, selfish, faithless, orphans, abandoned and so on.
Jesus taught them with authority of love to reach out to all these kind of people.
He is not bothered about his name or fame.
The authority of love does everything that can benefit the other.
Jesus’ authority of love reaches out to the little ones in society.
Jesus shows us that we spread the kingdom of God, when we do good works in love.
Actions are good ways to teach others.
Jesus teaches them with authority of love.
2. Teaching with authority of Power:
Jesus uses the authority of power to drive out the devils…
‘Jesus rebuked him and said,
“Quiet! Come out of him!”’
Jesus wants to cast out the devil from him.
Jesus uses the authority of power to drive out the evil spirits from the society.
Jesus’ authority of power is used to drive out the evils of any society.
Jesus has zero tolerance towards devilish actions that harms the ordinary people and little ones.
What a beautiful thing…
Jesus’ authority of power is meant for the devil…not for his loving people.
People are governed by love.
Devils are governed by power.
We become a part of the devil when we use authority of power in our lives to harm others rather than loving them.
Instead, we need to use the authority of power to drive out evils from oneself and society.
Yes, dear sisters and brothers,
Jesus teaches them with authority of power.
Power is devil.
Love is human.
We have love to care for oneself and others.
We have power to drive out devil from oneself and from others.
3. Not as the Scribes:
Having shared the above reflection, let me go further to reflect with you…the sentence, where we read in the given Gospel text:
‘The people were astonished at his teaching,
for he taught them as one having authority and not as the scribes.’
The sentence says: ‘Jesus taught them as one having authority and not as the scribes.’
The aim of the Gospel should be not just to explain, to teach and to preach to the world but to change the world.
The people of Capernaum received sacred instruction in their synagogue every Sabbath.
One Sabbath, they had a different teacher: ‘Jesus’.
What Jesus taught them that day, as well as the way he presented and demonstrated his message, simply amazed them.
‘All were amazed and asked one another,
“What is this?
A new teaching with authority.’
“They were astounded at his teaching, for he taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes” (Mark 1:22).
Jesus’ teaching contrasted sharply with that of the scribes.
In one word, Jesus taught with authority, the scribes did not.
What does it mean to teach with authority?
When we compare and contrast the teaching of Jesus with that of the scribes we notice three distinguishing qualities:
A. The teaching of Jesus is from the heart and not just from the head,