Homily for the Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time B
Deut. 18:15- 20. 1 Cor. 7: 32-35. Mark 1: 21- 28
The words of the Gospel today can be a very provocative for us.
The demon says, “I know who you are – the Holy one of God.” The demon could distinguish between the authentic prophet and a false one. How did they know is the question? It’s by the sheer power of his word and his sense of self. A deep-seated inner authority that comes from knowing who you are and your call and your honest response to it. Jesus teaches with authority.
Jesus is the prophet promised by Moses in Deuteronomy. We need true prophets. The world still needs prophets, those who live the future now. For us as Christians, and especially as monks, we are to be those prophets, who preach and live Kingdom values. Just like Jesus did. Jesus spoke the truth , there was no division between his word and life.
We so admire those who give their lives to truth. We celebrated this month Martin Luther King. He gave his life to the truth of equality.
Someone can be very persuasive, when they live in truth, in faith, with that real sense and belief that God is with them. Living in the Spirit, always naming the truth, seeking to live as a disciple of Jesus. And who always speaks from their experience of God.
Last Sunday’s Gospel was so powerful. The call of Simon and Andrew, James and John. Jesus
Came along, directed them “follow me” and the scriptures say, they dropped their nets left their father and went. Period. That’s speaking with authority!! With a gravitas, a charisma that comes from authenticity. From living out of the true self – living in God.
Last week Fr. Guerric gave us a great challenge that following Jesus means letting go of the old life and see bigger things. We surely want to do that but it requires our authenticity.
We see it over and over in Jesus, who always connected with his hearers. Remember the Emmaus story. The disciples said, where not out hearts burning within us. That’s the authenticity that touches the heart deeply. We hear it in the crowds in the Gospel today.
The challenge for us, Jesus’ disciples, is to take his place, but now, proclaiming Jesus with authority with words and actions so compelling that they capture the attention and imagination of those who hear us. It all comes from the same elements we see in Jesus.
To be this prophet and take our place proclaiming the Kingdom of Christ, we must let go of all those things that hinder us. So…..
Are we people who practice what we preach? Do we do what we say – live truth, the truth of Christ in our lives. When we do, we too will teach with Authority. It all comes down to that harmony of word and actions. Like a seamless garment. In this consistency, there is strength and authenticity . The basis of that inner authority Jesus had and we also must have. That’s the problem we face in today’s world. Folks not living truthfully their call, not being honest about who they are. It’s all about honesty, transparency, being real, being who you say you are.
A sense of self, owning the truth of your call. The ability to touch the hearts of others by your sincerity, speaking from your experience. That’s coming out of your own authority. So, are you living out of your own authority? Which comes from self-knowledge of your place before God. And the inner power of faith which is touching the true self. Take a personal survey:
Do you believe what you say you believe? Do you truly own your faith? That means – do you live it out with integrity. Are you comfortable with who you are , do you believe in yourself? Are you clear about your identity and your place in the world? Do you accept your vocation and know that this is it? So, are you honest and wholehearted in living it? There is power and strength in this life stance
The Hebrews readings we have been hearing tells us to hold on to the power of faith. Have that confidence that empowers us to live it.
This is being authentic and there is your authority. And then it is also your source of beatitude – that is happiness, fulfillment and success in all you do. So, it is essential for our well-being that we confront all these issues. We must come to a wholeness and contentment with ourselves – feeling secure and able to live with an inner peace. That’s surely what God wants of us and it is our spiritual and very human journey.
Ultimately, it is conforming our mind and heart to Christ. When we do, we live the abundant life Christ came to give us.
So, we are always choosing life, always seeking to live the life of the Spirit, always relying on the work of grace in us. Seeking to live the fullness of virtues – especially, oneness, truth, goodness and beauty. The fundamental virtues of being. That identify with the Divine.
Let us fulfill our role today as the followers of Christ who do our part to further the Kingdom of God.