Listen to Fr. John’s Homily for Sunday, January 29th


Fr. John’s Reflection for Sunday, January 29th

The 4th Sunday in Ordinary Time

When we think of authority we often equate authority with power, and certainly there is a power that comes at times with having authority. Yet, to have authority is to have been authorized or legitimized. It means you have been delegated to speak in behalf of another.

In Deuteronomy God is giving authority to a prophet to speak in his name and this prophet is to say only what God has told him to say. Since this prophet has been sent by God, the people need to listen with the same attentiveness and give the same enthusiastic response to the prophet’s words as though God had spoken them, for in fact God is speaking them through the prophet.

Since the people will be listening to the words of the prophet as being the words of God, the prophet is not to speak the words of someone else, nor speak his own words. Doing this will lead to confusion and will lead to lack of trust in the word of God.

In the Gospel Jesus teaches and casts out unclean spirits with authority. The Father has sent the Son into the world to be his voice. Therefore Jesus has the authority of God to speak on behalf of God, and he fulfills this role through his teaching and through his casting out unclean spirits.

Jesus also passes on this authority to his disciples. In other parts of Scripture (beyond what we read today), this authority of Jesus is handed on to his disciples when he sends them out in pairs to proclaim the good news. The disciples return rejoicing that even the evil spirits were subject to them in his name. The disciples are given the authority to speak in behalf of Jesus and the disciples’ legitimacy brings about the work of Jesus.

It is not surprising that Jesus teaches with authority because he is coming in behalf of his father. Jesus is sanctioned by the Father to come to earth to speak on his behalf. Jesus is the legitimate voice of God and so his voice carries the weight of the Father.

It is also not surprising that unclean spirits depart from the person, since all peoples belong to God and so God has the legitimate right to the lives of people. The unclean spirits recognize that God even has a legitimate right over them because they ask if Jesus has come to destroy them.

It might be good for us to ask this week who has the legitimate right over your own life. Are you speaking on behalf of yourself or someone else or are you speaking on behalf of God?

Remember legitimately we belong to God and so God has the rightful authority over our lives.

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