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4th Sunday: Be a Teacher (Mark 1: 21-28)

Today’s Gospel tells us that Jesus taught in the synagogue and expelled unclean spirits. The people were astonished and amazed at Jesus’ teaching as one having authority. Jesus did not use His authority and divine power to rule and control people. Pope Francis said in one of his homilies, “The authority of Jesus’ teachings seemed “new” to the people of His day, not because of its content, but because of “the love and respect” with which Jesus spoke. Jesus’ authority came from “the power of holiness” and the novelty of Jesus teaching came from “the love of God for each of us.” Jesus used His authority – the authority of love, compassion, kindness, forgiveness, and generosity, not as the Pharisees and Scribes: they used their authority to show their power and wealth and to put down others and heap heavy burdens on the shoulders of the poor people.

Jesus came to make people free. Let us approach Jesus with trusting faith so that Jesus may free us from the evil spirits that prevent us from loving and sharing our blessings with others. Even the unclean spirits recognized Jesus; one cried out – “I know who you are – the Holy One of God!” Let us ask ourselves: “Do we recognize Jesus and His divine power in every moment of our lives?” Jesus also frees us from all the “evil spirits” of fear, selfishness, anger, and hatred. “I have come that they may have life, life in abundance.” May Jesus free us from all those spirits, which make us deaf, dumb, blind, and paralyzed: both physically and spiritually.

Let us take an honest look at ourselves. What are the things, the persons, and the places, which prevent us from doing what we really want to do and from being the people we really want to be? It is important that we identify our fears, that we see them within ourselves, and not simply blame others for them. Once we recognize our inner fears we can ask for Jesus’ help us surrender them to Him.

Jesus spoke with authority because He spoke from His convictions and from His heart and his actions flowed from them. In our own lifetime, St. Mother Teresa is a good example as she, also, spoke with conviction as she lived it out by serving the “poorest of the poor.” The Archbishop of Calcutta, Thomas D’Souza, spoke during the Holy Mass on St. Mother Teresa’s Feast day. He stated, “If Mother Teresa was alive today, she would call on people to not be indifferent to the poor and needy people during the COVID-19 Pandemic.”

The Archbishop continued by saying that “Mother Teresa followed the example of Jesus’s authority and conviction based on love, compassion, and service to sick and sufferings. Mother Teresa drew her strength from prayer, most especially from Jesus in the Holy Eucharist, and with that strength met the same Jesus in the poorest of the poor and served Him with love.” As we go through this challenging time, even in the midst of darkness and sufferings, each one of us can be an instrument of light and peace, hope and faith, joy and forgiveness! Let us follow the words of St. Mother Teresa, “God’s call is an inner conviction given by the Holy Spirit and confirmed by the Word of God and the Body of Christ.”