4th Sunday in Ordinary Time (B)

January 31, 2021
Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time (B)

Gospel Mk 1: 21-28

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.

Ebanjelioa Markos 1: 21-28

21 Kafarnaumen sartu ziren. Eta, larunbatean sinagogara joanik, irakasten hasi zen Jesus. 22 Haren irakaspenaz txunditurik zegoen jende guztia, nagusitasunez irakasten baitzien eta ez lege-maisuek bezala. 23 Bazen, hain zuzen, sinagoga hartan espiritu gaiztoaren menpe zegoen gizon bat. Eta oihuka ekin zion: 24 –Zer duk gurekin, Nazareteko Jesus? Gu hondatzera al hator? Bazekiat nor haizen: Jainkoaren Santua. 25 Jesusek gogor eraso zion: –Isil hadi eta irten horrengandik! 26 Espiritu gaiztoak astinaldi gogorra eman zion eta, garrasi handia eginez, atera egin zen harengandik. 27 Guztiz ikaraturik gelditu ziren denak, elkarri galdezka: «Zer dugu hau? Irakaspen berria, eta nolako nagusitasunez emana gainera! Espiritu gaiztoei ere agintzen die eta hauek esana egiten!» 28 Laster zabaldu zen Jesusen entzutea Galilea aldeko bazter guztietara.

Liberating authority

The way Jesus taught provoked among the people the impression that they were in front of something unknown and admirable. The oldest Christian sources point to it and researchers think that was really so. Jesus did not teach as the Scribes of Law did. “They were astonished at his teaching, for he taught them as one who had authority.” The disciples appear to have seen in Jesus a rare integrity. His word freed people of “evil spirits”.

We must not confuse “authority” with “power.” Mark is very precise in his language. The word of Jesus does not come from power. Jesus did not try to impose his own will on others. Jesus never taught to control the behavior of people. Jesus does not use coercion or threats.

Jesus’ words were not coated with institutional power either. People around him may have questioned his right and his authority to do what he did, but in their very questions, they bore eloquent testimony to the presence of something quite different and authentic in him. His “authority” came from the Spirit who was in him. His authority came from his love and compassion for the people. Jesus sought to alleviate their sufferings, to heal their wounds, to promote a more humane lifestyle. Jesus never generated submission, infantilism or passivity among his listeners. Jesus tries to free people from fear, to instill confidence in God, to encourage people to build a new world.

It is obvious that we may be experiencing a crisis of authority. Our trust in institutions may be at its minimum. Even within the Church, many speak of a strong “devaluation of authority.” Homilies are boring. Words seems to have become meaningless.

Is it not time to go back to Jesus and learn to teach as he did? The word of the Church must be born from the real love for people. It has to be uttered—as Pope Francis tells us—after carefully listening to the suffering of the people, and not before. Our words must reflect our closeness to the suffering people, be warm, and capable to accompany them in their suffering.

We need to utter words that are free from the seduction of power and full of the power of the Spirit. Words, which are born from respect and positive esteem of people, capable of generating hope, joy, and heal wounds. It would be a serious mistake if we, within the Church, would continue listening to the “doctrine of lawyers’ rather than the healing words of Jesus.

Nagusitasunez erakusten du nork bere izaera guzia Jesusi itsasita dagoenak.