January 29, 2012
15 "The LORD your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you, from your brethren –– him you shall heed ––
16 just as you desired of the LORD your God at Horeb on the day of the assembly, when you said, `Let me not hear again the voice of the LORD my God, or see this great fire any more, lest I die.'
17 And the LORD said to me, `They have rightly said all that they have spoken.
18 I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their brethren; and I will put my words in his mouth, and he shall speak to them all that I command him.
19 And whoever will not give heed to my words which he shall speak in my name, I myself will require it of him.
20 But the prophet who presumes to speak a word in my name which I have not commanded him to speak, or who speaks in the name of other gods, that same prophet shall die.'
Psalm 95:1-2, 6-9
R. (8) If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.
Come, let us sing joyfully to the LORD;
let us acclaim the rock of our salvation.
Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving;
let us joyfully sing psalms to him.
R. If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.
Come, let us bow down in worship;
let us kneel before the LORD who made us.
For he is our God,
and we are the people he shepherds, the flock he guides.
R. If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.
Oh, that today you would hear his voice:
"Harden not your hearts as at Meribah,
as in the day of Massah in the desert,
Where your fathers tempted me;
they tested me though they had seen my works."
R. If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.
1 Corinthians 7:32-35
32 I want you to be free from anxieties. The unmarried man is anxious about the affairs of the Lord, how to please the Lord;
33 but the married man is anxious about worldly affairs, how to please his wife,
34 and his interests are divided. And the unmarried woman or girl is anxious about the affairs of the Lord, how to be holy in body and spirit; but the married woman is anxious about worldly affairs, how to please her husband.
35 I say this for your own benefit, not to lay any restraint upon you, but to promote good order and to secure your undivided devotion to the Lord.
21 And they went into Caper'na-um; and immediately on the sabbath he entered the synagogue and taught.
22 And they were astonished at his teaching, for he taught them as one who had authority, and not as the scribes.
23 And immediately there was in their synagogue a man with an unclean spirit;
24 and he cried out, "What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us?
I know who you are, the Holy One of God."
25 But Jesus rebuked him, saying, "Be silent, and come out of him!"
26 And the unclean spirit, convulsing him and crying with a loud voice, came out of him.
27 And they were all amazed, so that they questioned among themselves, saying, "What is this?
A new teaching! With authority he commands even the unclean spirits, and they obey him."
28 And at once his fame spread everywhere throughout all the surrounding region of Galilee.
Overview of the Gospel:
This Sunday’s Gospel finds Jesus in the fishing village of Capernaum, located on the northern shore of the Sea of Galilee. It is here that Jesus will make his home and establish the base of his ministry (Matthew 4:13; Mark 2:1; 9:33). Now that Jesus has begun to choose his disciples (see last week’s Gospel reading), he is now poised to begin that ministry.
On the day of the Jewish Sabbath, as was his custom (verses 21; 6:2; Luke 4:16, 6:6, 13:10), he went to teach in the synagogue where the Jews gathered to hear the Law and be taught. His disciples would continue this practice in the early years of the Church (Acts 13:14-16).
His listeners were used to their Scribes (experts in the Jewish law) preface their teachings with phrases such as “It is written…” Jesus, on the other hand, often began his instruction with “Truly, truly I say to you…” or “Amen, amen I say to you…” (Matthew 7:28-29; John 1:51, 3:3, 5:24), speaking on the authority of his own word, as only God can do. Thus, Jesus’ words had an absolute claim on his hearers.
While at the synagogue, Jesus ministers to a man with a demon - an “unclean spirit”, so called because this spirit was resistant to the holiness of God. This spirit, far from expressing faith in Jesus, knows and fears his power to destroy his influence, as Jesus goes on to do repeatedly with other demons in his public ministry (Mark 1:32, 34; 3:11; 5:2; 6:7, 13; 9:14).
While contemporary exorcists relied on lengthy incantations and the burning of odorous plants to affect their cures, Jesus’ simple word was enough (verse 25), again showing his authority.
In the 1st Reading, Moses predicts to the Israelites about to enter the Promised Land that there will someday arise after him a prophet like himself. What are the characteristics of this prophet, and how do they find their fulfillment in Jesus?
Where did Jesus begin his public ministry? What two things about Jesus amazed the people?
How do imagine this scene unfolded? Was the demoniac part of the congregation, or did he burst in from the outside? What do you think was the reaction of the rest of the congregation: Compassion? Embarrassment? Anger? What would your reaction be?
What does it mean to teach “as one having authority” (verse 22)? What was the source of Jesus’ authority (see John 5:19-24)?
Did Jesus heal every person in Israel at that time, or even in every city he visited during his earthly ministry? Why do you think that Jesus healed the people that he did?
On a scale of 1 to 10, how much authority does Jesus have over your life?
* In the 1st Reading, Moses predicts to the Israelites about to enter the Promised Land that there will someday arise after him a prophet like himself. What are the characteristics of this prophet, and how do they find their fulfillment in Jesus?
God outlines some of the attributes a prophet will have:
"I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their kinsmen, and will put my words into his mouth; he shall tell them all that I command him."
Simple, direct, to the point. God doesn't beat around the bush!
Together with the king, (we'll see this in Samuel) and the priest, the prophet is one of the great institutions of Israel; the prophet has a very important religious position and special moral authority. In the history of the Jewish people Moses is seen not only as the one who delivered Israel from slavery in Egypt, not only as the one who gave them God's laws, but also as the first prophet and the model for all future prophets.
The role of the prophet is to monitor the status of the people's covenantial relationship with God; to speak in the name of the Lord and proclaim the meaning and scope of past, present and future events: to remind them of the blessings and curses associated with their covenant. As Peter Kreeft says in his book: The God Who Loves You
, "Prophets are like fingers, not like faces. We are not meant to look at them but to the reality to which they point."
Jesus, of course, is the "Great Prophet." Prophecy is for Israel the great means of mediation with her God It is shown in opposition to the surrogates just mentioned. This is the prophetic office founded at Sinai (Horeb) as an office of mediation like that of Moses himself who was a unique prophet. Since Jesus is the Great Prophet in whom the prophetic office of the Old Testament finds its fulfillment, this passage was understood in a special messianic sense by the Jews (John 6:14; 7:40) and by the Apostles (Acts 3:22; 7:37).
Think about it: the Israelites there below Mt. Sinai saw the awe of God there on the mountaintop with Moses. They literally couldn't stand the power, majesty, and righteousness of the Almighty. That's what they're saying in our first reading.
And so God, in his infinite love and mercy, sends his Son as a mediator––a middle man––if you will. And we'll hear God the father tell everyone: "This is my Son. Listen to Him!"
"...blessed Lord Jesus, open the eyes of my heart that I may hear your words..."
Christ the Lord
In these few verses St John gives us three key titles of Christ, each of which should stir our hearts to gratitude, praise, and adoration.
First, John reemphasizes that Jesus is the “Lamb of God,” a title worth reflecting on again and again. The lamb appeared over and over in the Jewish scriptures and in their traditions. The central allusion, however, was to the Passover, when the Israelites sprinkled the blood of the Passover lamb on the lintels of their doors (cf. Exodus 12). The lamb had been sacrificed in order to save the Israelites, so that Moses would be able to lead them out of slavery. Christ was to be slain as well – on the cross of Calvary – and his blood was to be sprinkled on the lips of his faithful when they receive Holy Communion. In this way, Christians would be saved from the slavery of sin and led into the freedom of eternal life, the unquenchable abundance of heaven, by Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God. Christ is not only Lord; he is also Savior.
Second, Jesus is called “the Messiah,” or “the Anointed One” (the Greek word for this gives us the title “Christ”). This title referred to the promised successor to the throne of David, whom God had anointed king of his Chosen People. Under David’s kingship Israel had become a world power, reaching its peak of greatness and influence. God had promised that the line of David would never entirely fail, and he promised that a son of David would ascend to the throne to reinstate a new and even greater golden age for Israel. This Messiah (kings were “anointed” as a sign of their being chosen and strengthened by God for their divine mission on his behalf) would save Israel from all her sufferings and oppression, from all the misery that her sin had heaped upon her.
It is to save us, to rescue us from our own ignorance, weakness, and confusion that Jesus came. In relation to mankind, God’s glory consists in the human race reaching its full potential, in all people discovering the joy of a life lived in communion with God. Christ is the bearer of this glory, the King who comes to establish the sovereignty of God – with the peace and the fullness it entails – in every human heart.
Read more: http://rcspiritualdirection.com/blog/2012/01/11/242-wanting-the-right-thing-john-135-42#ixzz1koG95i2P
"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." —Deuteronomy 18:20
If prophets prophesy something God did not tell them to say, they shall die. This makes prophets feel like being quiet. However, if prophets "do not speak out to dissuade the wicked man from his way, he [the wicked man] shall die for his guilt, but [God] will hold [them] responsible for his death" (Ez 33:8). If we are silent in the face of evil, we are held responsible for the deaths of sinners. We must be careful when we prophesy, but we shouldn't be silent. This dilemma makes us feel like not being prophets. However, the Lord commands us to seek above all the gift of prophecy (1 Cor 14:1).
Even if we don't have the gift of prophecy, we must obey the prophets' messages, for without prophecy we perish (Prv 29:18). If we don't listen to Jesus and His prophets, we "shall be ruthlessly cut off from the people" (Acts 3:23).
In summary, we must not despise prophecies (1 Thes 5:20), but be open to them. We should be open to being prophets ourselves. We must neither be silent nor careless in prophesying. As best as we can discern, we must say what the Lord tells us to say when He wants us to say it. Prophesy obediently, courageously, boldly, and carefully.
Prayer: Father, may I be enlightened, encouraged, and built up by the prophetic messages of the pope.
Promise: "He is our God, and we are the people He shepherds, the flock He guides." —Ps 95:7
Praise: Praise Jesus, Who is the Word Made Flesh and dwells among us. Alleluia, Lord Jesus!
Gospel - Mark 1:21-28
Jesus has just started His public ministry. For the past two weeks we have heard of Him going out and recruiting disciples. New He begins to teach.
21 Then they came to Capernaum,
Capernaum is located on the northwestern shore of the Sea of Galilee (Lake Gennesaret), this town was to become Jesus' home base while in Galilee.
and on the Sabbath he entered the synagogue and taught.
Mark records much less of Jesus' doctrine than either Matthew or Luke, but he associates the activity of teaching much more closely with Jesus' self-revelation.
22 The people were astonished at his teaching, for he taught them as one having authority and not as the scribes.
A rabbi had authority to impose a decision with binding force. A scribe was a teacher of lower rank than a rabbi and did not possess this authority.
23 In their synagogue was a man with an unclean spirit;
Jesus' first miracle in Mark's gospel is, significantly, an exorcism. In antiquity sickness was ascribed to evil spirits. The exorcism is a sign that in His presence the power of evil is reduced to impotency. God's rule is at hand.
24 he cried out, "What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us?
Jesus is, in effect, recognized as the Messiah, anointed with God's Spirit and possessing power over evil spirits.
I know who you are ––
One's name revealed their destiny. To know one's adversary's name was to give one a magical power over him. The demon names Jesus twice: "Jesus of Nazareth" and "the Holy one of God" but has no power over Him.
the Holy One of God!"
"While Peter's confession sounded almost the same (Matthew 16:16), the crucial difference is that Peter confessed out of love, while the demon confessed out of fear." (Saint Augustine of Hippo (A.D. 416), Homilies on the Gospel of John 6,21).
25 Jesus rebuked him
This is a technical term which means exorcized.
and said, "Quiet!
"He put a bridle in the mouths of the demons that cried after Him from the tombs. For although what they said was true, and they did not lie when they said, 'You are the Son of God' and 'the Holy One of God,' yet He did not wish that the truth should proceed from an unclean mouth, and especially from such as those who under pretense of truth might mingle with it their own malicious devices." [Saint Bede the Venerable (A.D. 673-735), To the Bishops of Egypt 3].
Come out of him!" 26 The unclean spirit convulsed him and with a loud cry came out of him. 27 All were amazed and asked one another, "What is this? A new teaching with authority. He commands even the unclean spirits and they obey him." 28 His fame spread everywhere throughout the whole region of Galilee.