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Authority among Followers of Christ

by | Jan 23, 2018 | Formation, Reflections

Jesus teaches with astonishing authority.  He expects those he has sent to proclaim the Gospel to every creature to carry out their mission with authority.

Jesus does not teach as the scribes.  These serve as official interpreters of the law and the prophets.  Basically, then, they underscore the authority of Scriptures and of tradition.  But, of course, as experts in religious studies, the scribes do not fail to quote more renowned teachers.

Jesus, on the other hand, teaches with astonishing authority.  He surely affirms the importance of the law and the prophets, saying that he has come to fulfill them.  But he does not simply repeat the same usual doctrines, but rather he makes them radically meaningful.  Accordingly, he demands a better and unusual righteousness:  “You have heard it said …, but I say to you ….”

But what makes Jesus authority even more noticeable is the consistency between his preaching and his action.  He announces in the synagogue the Gospel of God.  And right away, he makes that Good News true by curing a man with an unclean spirit.

By showing such authority, Jesus comes across as a true prophet that God has raised up from the people.  He is vested with power from God.

But Jesus, of course, is more than a prophet.  He is the Son to whom the Father has handed over all things.  And since no one knows the Father except the Son, the Son alone, then, can teach with authority.  Only through him does God reveal to the childlike the things that he has hidden from the wise and the learned.

Those to whom Jesus has wished to reveal these things are to share them with authority.

It is our duty as followers of Christ to clothe ourselves with his authority.  He forbids us to lord it over or oppress anyone.  True disciples do not inspire fear that drives people away, but rather amazement that draws people.

And they guard against the temptation to be gentle with the powerful and harsh with the powerless.  They do not turn back before someone with a greedy and exploiting spirit.  They rebuke him, saying, “Quiet.  Come out of him.”  In that way, they do not fall prey to the wily who, complimenting them falsely, offers them flattering recognitions.

But above all, we Christians are not to lack moral authority.  That is to say, we have to practice what we preach and be true to our Christian commitment.  Moreover, we have to love, not only with sweet words, but with the strength of our arms and the sweat of our brows (SV.EN XI:32).

Lord Jesus, make us proclaim the Gospel with authority, possessed by your love that is inventive to infinity (SV.EN XI:131).  You laid down your life for us; may we also be ready to lay down our lives for others.

28 January 2018
4th Sunday in O.T. (B)
Dt 18, 15-20; 1 Cor 7, 32-35; Mk 1, 21-28

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