January 28, 2024, 4th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Episode 16 January 26, 2024 00:10:36
January 28, 2024, 4th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Sundays with Bishop Ken
January 28, 2024, 4th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Jan 26 2024 | 00:10:36

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Little Books of the Diocese of Saginaw

Show Notes

Today, Bishop Ken will guide us through the Gospel of Mark, Chapter 1, verses 21-28 (Mk 1:21-28)

 

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Episode Transcript

A reading from the Holy Gospel according to Mark “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.” The Gospel of the Lord. We don’t have any tape recordings of Jesus. We only have excerpts of things he said here and there. But apparently, he spoke with great power and strength. There was a great deal of “authority” behind his words. The word authority used in today’s Gospel really means power. It was not unusual to ask various people to teach in the synagogue. But when Jesus got up to speak, they noticed a difference. He spoke with a certain “power.” It was different than the Scribes. First a little bit about the Scribes. They were good men. They devoted all their time to the study of the “law,” (which is much of the Old Testament,) and the traditions that had grown up around the law. Usually, the scribes were economically independent people because they didn’t get paid for this study, and they devoted all their time to it. They would gather disciples around them and pass the results of their study on to their disciples, and work with them so that they too would be familiar with and dedicated to the law. But most of what they taught was repetitious. It was “derivative.” They took the law, learned it, even memorized it, and passed it on. That’s a good way to learn. We need that and we do it too. For example, we recite the Creed, which is a summary of what we believe. We learn it. We memorize it and we pass it on. The same is true of the catechism. The same is true of religious education of our youngsters today – they learn things that are “passed on.” But we need to take these things one step further. When Jesus taught, he wasn’t just repeating. He owned it and possessed what He taught. He spoke from the depths of His soul. It was His. The teaching was His teaching. There’s a difference between believing something because we know it and do not deny it, and believing something because it is ours – it has become our own. That was the difference between the Scribes and Jesus. There is something of the Scribes and of Jesus in all of us. The question is how much? You and I accept the teachings of Christianity, of the Catholic church insofar as we know them and do not deny them. But how many of these teachings have become “our own,” so that if we were to talk about them, it would be me speaking? What if I were to ask you to stand up and publicly talk about your beliefs, but to choose your deep convictions and the truths you personally live by and would die for? Which ones would you talk about? What if I asked each of us to take a sheet of paper and draw a line down the middle. Then, on the left side, to write all the Catholic teachings you can think of and on the right side, to write the ones that are truly yours. We couldn’t write all the teachings of the church on the right side, in other words make them our own at this moment. No one is at that point. But how many would be there? How many are truly ours? When you take truth and make it your own, then you have great authority, great power. Whether others agree or not, it is a powerful experience to come into contact with that kind of truth. That’s the power people felt when they came into contact with Jesus. There is a difference between being like the Scribes – a repeater – and being like Jesus. Here’s an incident that clarifies this difference. A woman was talking about how she learned to have a great love of prayer and that she is a good pray-er. Her father died when she was two years old and her mother raised her and her sister. Every night, her mother would kneel down at the bedside with the two of them, put her arms around them and pray. She wasn’t simply “modeling” prayer or “repeating” prayers with them or teaching words to them. She was praying, and that made all the difference in the world. When I heard this story, I thought of all the times I have been asked to lead grace before meals, and I paraded it more than I prayed it. I thought of all the times when celebrating the Eucharist that the prayers were more a speech to you than a heart-to-heart talk with God. I thought of all the times I have taught or preached, and conveyed truths, but there was no sign that they had become part of my own flesh and blood. I wonder how other people see us with our religious truths. Do they see us accepting them and repeating them – or do they see them as convictions woven deeply into our lives? For Jesus’ teachings to become the truths I live by, there needs to be something going on between me and God. We need the church and it is from the church that we receive all these beliefs, learn about them and find support. But at some point, it needs to be personal between me and God. When we can do that, when truths become personal, then we will have the power and authority Jesus had.

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