Friday, 26 January 2018


4th SUNDAY OT   2018


4TH SUNDAY OT   2018


Uncertainty and insecurity. Jesus was born into such a world. In today’s Gospel we hear   that Jesus visited  the Synagogue on the Sabbath.. After prayers had been said the Law that God entrusted to Moses was read from the Sacred Scrolls. The speaker for the day explained these Laws in minute detail.  Here people learned that to be the righteous one had to live up to a very demanding standard. Ordinary people were fearful of getting it wrong. They were very insecure.  When  Jesus  spoke He did so with authority, with godly good sense, compassion and mercy. He was a breath of fresh air! So different from the Scribes.
It occurs to me that today there are  so many opinionated people. How many of them are speaking with authority. How are we to know  with any certainty what is true, what is false; what is good, what is evil? With such bewilderment surely there is an urgent need for the truth of God the Creator  to be voiced with authority. This Jesus Himself did in the Synagogue, as we’ve just heard and throughout His public ministry. 
Before He ascended into Heaven He commissioned the Apostles as foundations of His Church to continue to speak with His authority - for the good of mankind. We as  Church  are to proclaim with His authority  the beauty of God’s truth so as to  ensure that human morality should be godly morality; human choices be godly choices.
And now today’s Gospel moves on to tells us, “In their Synagogue just then there was a man possessed by an unclean spirit and it shouted, ‘What do you want with us, Jesus of Nazareth?
 Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are: the Holy One of God.’ We must be aware that in those days there was no psychiatric medicine to deal with this kind of situation. It was then thought that those who were deranged and tormented were possessed by unclean spirits, demons. There was little that could be done to help them.  
We’ve already heard how Jesus had impressed the people with the authority of His teaching. Now we hear of Him sharply addressing the unclean spirit. “‘Be quiet! Come out of him!’ The unclean spirit threw the man into convulsions and with a loud cry went out of him.”  The astonished people exclaimed, “Here is a teaching that is new and with authority behind it. He gives orders to unclean spirits and they obey Him.”
Here was authority and powerful action! Jesus dealt with an awful, unmanageable situation. He had liberated this wretched helpless man.  We of today have our own problems – many of them man-made. We’re unable to prevent them and don’t know how to deal with them. 
Climate changes are beyond our control; we  don’t  know  how to cope with increasing  random terrorism, nor  with a multitude of addictions. How can we bring a halt to  the disintegration of what was once known as the stable family? With all our boasting about human progress there is a great sense of insecurity and fear for the future.
Surely today’s Gospel sounds a rallying cry to those of us who still believe in Jesus as having the authority and power to  make a radical difference, to turn the tide. For our part, all of us can do some serious praying. By the way we live all of us can bear witness to the enduring worth of Christianity. In the midst of the fierce political debates that rage throughout the word today all of us can and must bear witness to Gospel values.
To conclude   I ask what response is to be given to these questions?  “Can Jesus really make a difference? Or did His power to save, to heal, to push back the   tides  of  evil,  perish on Calvary?”
Amen. God bless you.
Peter Clarke O.P.

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