Jesus is the Word of the Father. So, he does not speak on his own; the Father who has sent him commands him what to say (Jn 12, 49). We, in turn, should only speak what Jesus tells us.
God starts to speak, and just like that creation gets underway. That means, he can speak the heavens, the world and all things into being (Ps 33, 6. 9-10). Through the Word, all things come to be and without it nothing springs forth (Jn 1, 3).
And such power shows in Jesus. For he is not only the definitive prophet that God has raised up. He is also God’s Son. Through him, God speaks to us in these last days (Heb 1, 2).
And that is why people are astonished. Jesus’ authority comes out clear. Such authority is not that of the tyrants. These make themselves great as they oppress the little folks and turn them into servants and slaves (Mk 10, 42).
But Jesus’ greatness lies in serving, in being a slave, in giving his life even. He wants all to reach full growth, as humans and as God’s children. But most of all, he goes after those who are thrown to the outskirts.
Disciples are to speak as their Teacher.
So then, we who strive to follow Jesus have to speak as he does. That is to say, we have to learn from him, since he is the one to train us. Hence, this Ordinary Time is for training, for us to get, in the end, to be wholly about Jesus (SV.EN I:276).
He wants virtues, strengths, for us. For he wills that all that he expects us to be becomes a habit to us and part of our nature. And our first impulses will thus be, not to look out for our own interests, but for those of others.
And we have to let Jesus give us, yes, the tongue of those in training. For we must know what words to say to the weary (see Is 50, 4-7). Wise words that strengthen, cleanse, reassure, heal and give hope (Ps 49, 3; 107, 20; 119, 11. 16. 19. 28). Sincere words that can bring to God even the most annoying (SV.EN X:268; Ps 147, 18). Words of love that drive away fear (Ps 143, 8).
No, we Christians cannot speak in a haughty and overbearing way. Nor are we to speak senselessly. Much less should we speak threateningly and with an air of superiority. And no foul word should come out of our mouths, but only such word that builds up and blesses (Eph 4, 29).
It is crucial, of course, that we do what we say, that we teach with our lives. For if not, we would speak idly.
Lord Jesus, make us listen to you carefully before speaking. May we, at the same time, watch closely what you set before us. We shall thus speak as you and prepare for others and for you the same thing (St. Augustine).
31 January 2021
4th Sunday in Ordinary Time (B)
Dt 18, 15-20; 1 Cor 7, 32-35; Mk 1, 21-28