A Reading from the Holy Gospel according to Mark (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.
Come Holy Spirit, light of our heart, dispel the darkness of our hearts.
Authority. This word jumps out of this Gospel and is so tangible as we enter into it. Watch Jesus as He teaches in the synagogue, watch the people's reaction and the evil spirit's reaction to Him. In our culture and in our lives, we have a tendency to be leery or distrustful when we hear the word, authority. Why? Firstly, we live in an imperfect world, with imperfect people (including you and myself), which means authority can be imperfect. I was just in Washington DC, and went through the Holocaust Museum. We have in our minds the reality of authority that has been used wrongly both in the history of our world and in the history of our own lives. If any person rises in your mind and heart as you pray about authority, and particularly authority that may have harmed you in some way, relate this hurt, pain, distrust to our Lord, ask Him for the grace to forgive this person(s) from the bottom of your heart, seventy times seven.
Jesus desires to be our ultimate authority and lead in our life. He is God, He is ALL GOOD, and ALL LOVING. His authority frees us as it freed the man with the unclean spirit. It does not stifle, harm, humiliate, or bind us. If we have projected our broken, wounded image of authority onto the authority of Jesus in our lives, He desires to bring His light, His healing, into these places in our hearts, that we may run with the freedom of the children of God, trusting His lead with all confidence and love.
Jesus, fill our hearts with Your love, we bring to You our broken hearts, we ask that the wounds of our hearts may become places of encountering You, and the truth of who You are for us. Amen.