Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Dt 18:15-20 Ps 95:1-2, 6-7, 7-9 1 Cor 7:32-35 Mk 1:21-28
Remember what happened when God gave them the 10 commandments? – if you go back to Exodus you’ll see that God didn’t just speak to Moses – he spoke directly to each person. God had Moses get all the people to gather around the base of the mountain – and this dark cloud covered the mountain and there was lighting and a loud Shofar – like a horn – and– in that they heard the voice of God speak directly to them….and it FREAKED THEM OUT! They said – Moses -YOU speak to us – don’t let God speak to us again lest we die! Keep that in mind for the first reading.
Now there’s a connection between that reading and the Gospel – in a way the Gospel is a fulfillment of the prophecy in the 1st reading.
Oh – and pay particular attention to the psalm, because it kinda threads all the readings together, although it may not be obvious.
What’s the prophecy in the first reading? God promised to send a prophet from among our own kin - who would speak HIS words.
Then BOOM – in the Gospel, we have – Jesus speaking with authority! There’s two pieces to that authority– first – you probably already know this – but any good rabbi of the day would be good because he could quote other rabbis – like "Well, Gamaliel says…" or "Rabbi Nicodemus says…" But Jesus quoted the words of no one – He directly spoke the Word of God - because He IS the Word. Did you see that – He spoke the word of God DIRECTLY TO THE PEOPLE… just like in the first reading, except this time He is in human form, so they can bear it.
Y’all knew that, I’m sure. But there’s another authority here – the first miracle in the Gospel of Mark shows Jesus’ authority over demons.
1 John 3:8 told us - "the reason the son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil." The Demons KNEW that. That’s why they asked the question – “have you come to destroy us?” They knew who He was and what His purpose was.
Notice Jesus’ authority over them: The demos must listen to the Word of God. Why is that? Demons are what? Fallen Angels. Fallen Angels don’t have free will. They can’t change their minds because their identity is set – see – at the moment of creation angels had one choice – to serve God or not Serve God. They made their one choice and it was not for God… Lucifer said, Non Servium… I will not serve. We could get into 'why' he said that, but that’s another homily. The important point is that these for fallen angels - their identity was set - in effect, they’re hearts were hardened…
But they cannot NOT listen to Jesus. They must follow His command, because He is Lord of all creation… demons are created beings. Yes, The Word of God has authority over the demons.
You and I have that same authority – with a twist. If you and I were to cast out a Demon, we’d have to say – “In the name of Jesus, I say Quiet! Come out of him!”. But Jesus didn’t have to add that first part because He has the personal authority. Our authority is only in His name. There is power in the name of Jesus.
Notice too that he first told them to be Quiet. We never want to allow the demons to speak, because they speak lies and plant seeds of doubt and fear and distrust.
Jesus speaks with authority to US too. You and I are also created beings, but we were made in the image of God – and one of the main ways that we are 'like God' is that we have free will. When Jesus speaks to US, We can choose to listen or ignore… When we ignore or reject the Word of God - in effect, then we become like the demons…. With hardened hearts. But When we soften our hearts, we hear the Word of God and let it change us.
If Today you Hear His voice, harden not your hearts.