January 29, 2012 – 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
In last week’s gospel reading, we heard Jesus call the first disciples, and they answered His call immediately, without restraint – leaving their careers and even their families to follow Him.
Today’s scripture readings remind us that, as Christian disciples, Christ is the one we follow, and we are His instruments, His representatives, to do His work on Earth.
In the first reading, Moses assures the people that God will raise up a prophet from their family line. The prophet is foretold to be one in authority. “To him you shall listen,” Moses says.
In our Christian minds, it is easy to make the connection to Christ. He is the One raised up from among the line of David. He is the One who speaks in authority, fulfilling the prophecies of old and ushering in the Kingdom of Heaven, promising life everlasting.
But we should look at this scripture passage from a literal standpoint, with the mindset of the Old Testament Jews, and then, we see that while Christ is the fulfillment of the promise, Moses is talking of the prophetic office in general, of those who will proclaim the good news of God. They are those who give themselves in service to the Lord. They let the Lord use them to tell of His goodness, and they proclaim His Good News.
“But if a prophet presumes to speak in my name an oracle that I have not commanded him to speak, or speaks in the name of other gods, he shall die.”
Indeed, it is the Lord God whom we serve. He is the One in authority. He is the One with the Good News. And, so, as His disciples, we must remember that we do not live for ourselves. We do not proclaim the information we think others ought to know. We proclaim the Good News that Christ has come to save all people, and that He wants us to know, love and serve Him, and ultimately to live life forever with Him in eternal glory.
It is His message. It is His grace we receive as we live the life of a Christian disciple, especially as we receive the sacraments. He is the one with the power. We are but the flock He shepherds, the disciples who serve Him.
In Mark’s gospel today, we see that even the demons are subject to His authority. Even they must recognize that He is the all-powerful.
Taunting Jesus, the demon says, “I know who you are, the Holy One of God.”
And when Jesus responds, “Quiet! Come out of Him!” the demon must obey. For all things in heaven and on Earth, and even under the Earth, must bow to the Lord.
This lesson is quite relevant for us today as we work to live as Christian stewards. It is important to remember that He is the one we serve. We are His creatures. Though He loves us in an unfathomable way, and He gives us innumerable blessings beyond our wildest dreams, none of what we have is of our own accord. God is the giver of all good gifts, and we must proclaim the Good News to the world for the praise and glory of the almighty God.