Gospel: Lk 4:31-37
Jesus went down to Capernaum, a town of Galilee, and began teaching the people at the Sabbath meetings. They were astonished at the way he taught them, for his word was spoken with authority. In the synagogue, there was a man possessed by an evil spirit, who shouted in a loud voice, “What do you want with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I recognize you: you are the Holy One of God.” Then Jesus said to him sharply, “Be silent and leave this man!” The evil spirit then threw the man down in front of them, and came out of him without doing him harm. Amazement seized all these people, and they said to one another, “What does this mean? He commands the evil spirits with authority and power. He orders, and you see how they come out!” And news about Jesus spread throughout the surrounding area.
You are the Holy One of God
Each one of us is given authority of some kind – as a parent, a teacher, a priest and whatever responsibility we are given. It is easy to abuse one’s position of power and privilege. Jesus uses his authority to liberate a person possessed by an evil spirit. Whether we experience the evil spirit as something external or, in many cases, an internal experience of being possessed by our own evil thoughts and deeds, of by shame and guilt that refuse to leave us, Jesus sets us free from anything that destroys our dignity and freedom as sons and daughters of God. His authority is to allow us to move away from fear and shame to a profound experience of being loved, accepted and forgiven. His authority is an experience of grace and not an experience of punishment and exclusion. He models a different kind of authority for us. He invites to imitate his authority of grace. Let us make sure that we use it in such a way as to enhance the abilities of others rather than diminish them.
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