Theme: JESUS THE TEACHER OF LOVE WITH POWER TO EXORCISE THE DEVIL OF SIN AND DEATH
- Deuteronomy 18:15-20;
Psalm 94 (95): 1-2. 6-9. R/ v. 7f;
1 Corinthians 7:32-35
Today is the 4th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Liturgical Year B. The readings today tell us about Jesus the teacher. The gospel today tells us that Jesus teaches something new and with authority behind it. He has the authority and power even to exorcise the devil of sin and death.
The Devil brought sin and death into the world through Adam. Jesus the new Adam has the power to exorcise the devil of sin and death. Jesus is also the new Moses who teaches the new law of love with the power to overcome sin and death! Thus we read in the gospel today:
“‘Here is a teaching that is new’ they said ‘and with authority behind it: he gives orders even to unclean spirits and they obey him.’” (Mk 1:27; SM)
The first reading follows the theme of the gospel. In the first reading Moses tells the people of Israel that God will raise up for them a prophet like Moses himself and that they must listen to him. Christians see in this future prophet the “Messiah-Prophet”, the “second Moses” (NJB), the new Moses, Jesus Christ! (NJBC)
Again, Jesus Christ, the new Moses teaches the new law of love with the power to overcome sin and death. The old Moses teaches the old law. The old law is without power to overcome sin and death! Thus we read in the first reading:
“Moses said to the people: ‘Your God will raise up for you a prophet like myself, from among yourselves, from your own brothers; to him you must listen.’” (Dt 18:15; SM)
The responsorial psalm follows the theme of the first reading. Thus the response of the responsorial psalm:
“O that today you would listen to his voice! Harden not your hearts.” (Ps 94 (95): 7f; SM)
The responsorial psalm is a call to worship and obedience. (HCSB) The responsorial psalm has three stanzas. The first and second stanzas are a call to worship God the creator and savior; the shepherd. The third stanza is a call to obedience, that is, to listen to God! (CSB; NJBC) Thus the third stanza from which the response is taken:
“O that today you would listen to his voice! ‘Harden not your hearts as at Meribah, as on that day at Massah in the desert when your fathers put me to the test; when they tried me, though they saw my work.’” (Ps 94 (95): 7-9; SM)
The second reading does not follow the theme of the Sunday. The second reading is a continuation of the second reading of last Sunday. Again, in the second reading, St. Paul was mistaken to think that the end of the world was imminent, that is, in his own lifetime! (HCSB; NJBC; IBC)
In the second reading, St. Paul tells the men who are not married not to marry so that they can devote all their time to God. A married man has to divide his time between God and his wife. St. Paul also tells the women who are not married not to marry so that they can devote all their time to God. A married woman has to divide her time between her husband and God. Thus we read in the second reading:
“An unmarried man can devote himself to the Lord’s affairs, all he need worry about is pleasing the Lord; but a married man has to bother about the world’s affairs and devote himself to pleasing his wife: he is torn two ways. In the same way an unmarried woman, like a young girl, can devote herself to the Lord’s affairs; all she need worry about is being holy in body and spirit. The married woman, on the other hand, has to worry about the world’s affairs and devote herself to pleasing her husband.” (1 Co 7:32-34; SM)
Although the end of the world is not imminent, the second reading is still relevant to us, especially for priests and religious brothers and sisters! Priests and religious brothers and sisters do not marry so that they have more time for God!
Today in the Eucharist we celebrate the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, and we eat his body and drink his blood, and the Risen Lord will give us the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit will help us listen to the new teaching of Jesus on love and the Holy Spirit will help us teach the new teaching of Jesus on love with the power to overcome sin and death! A happy Sunday and a happy week to all of you!
Parish Priest of St Mary, Tawau, Sabah East Malaysia.