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Tuesday, 24 January 2012

A Reflection/Homily/Sermon on the Fourth (4th) Sunday in Ordinary time Year B (January 29 2012)

The first reading presents us with the story of God’s promise to the Israelites that He will raise up another prophet like Moses who will lead them. They are to recognize this prophet through the authority and integrity he will exercise in his words and actions. God however, warned against abusing this authority by saying things not ordered by them.

In the gospel reading, we find the perfect fulfillment of this promise in the life of Christ. The gospel records that “his teaching made a deep impression on them because, unlike the scribes, he taught them with authority”. This authority was seen in Jesus’ words and actions. A perfect example is seen also in the gospel in his encounter with the unclean spirit. The unclean spirit even recognized Jesus’ authority. The gospel also mentioned that “he gives orders even to

unclean spirits and they obey him”.

This promise made by God and perfectly fulfilled in Christ can also be fulfilled in us. God has appointed us as prophets and He has given us the authority to perform our prophetic functions. After all, at our baptisms, we share in Christ’s tripartite offices as priests, prophets and kings. To empower us, God gave us this authority through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. Therefore, the readings of today pose several challenges on us.

In the first place, how have we always played our prophetic roles especially in the face of evil? A prophet is God’s spokesman. Have we been able to speak out against evil or do we condone and cover evil? Do we speak what God wants us to speak or do we speak to get cheap popularity? Remember God’s caveat for the man who does not listen to His words or say things not commanded by God.

How do we recognize the authorities of those God have chosen as prophets among us through whom we hear God’s Word? Even the evil spirit recognized Jesus’ authority and surrendered. Are we ready to listen to them and obey them?

God does not want us to exercise this authority only in our words but also in our actions. We should use this authority to win souls for him and liberate our neighbours from the power of the evil one. Are we still afraid to confront the evil one and his evil plans? Do you know that the devil can strip you of your authority by injecting fear into you? Can you caution the devil and with your authority reclaim all that belongs to God which the devil has stolen? This authority can always be renewed through prayer just as Jesus did in the gospel.

Some have been given this authority as prophets but they are required to live a celibate life. Others though prophets are also required to be married. But the question remains, how faithful are we to our calls in relation to our state of life? God demands fidelity in all we do. He expects us to pay more devotion to our call. Unfortunately, some religious men and women are more attentive to worldly things than they are to their calling and some married men and women are more attached to marital affairs than to the work God wants them to do in their families. St. Paul in the second reading makes the point clear. He says it is to “make sure that everything is as it should be and that you give your undivided attention to the Lord”.

             Therefore, do not be afraid for the Lord who has called you is able. He has given you the authority to speak His Word without fear or favour. All we need to do is to be in constant touch with him in prayer and be faithful for He is ever faithful. Then he will achieve greater things with and in us. Therefore, do not be afraid.  

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