February 1, 2009
Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Then they came to Capernaum, and on the Sabbath he entered the synagogue and taught. The people were astonished at his teaching, for he taught them as one having authority and not as the scribes. In their synagogue was a man with an unclean spirit; 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!" Jesus rebuked him and said, "Quiet! Come out of him!" The unclean spirit convulsed him and with a loud cry came out of him. 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." His fame spread everywhere throughout the whole region of Galilee.
Introductory Prayer: Oh, Holy One of God, what do you have to do with us? We know that you have the words of eternal life and can command the evil one to depart. You have power over all evil and can conquer all sin. You are ready to do this because of your unconditional love for us. I am ready to listen humbly to your word and respond, so that I may be healed and have life forever with you.
Petition: Jesus, help me to trust in your power to heal me of my sin.
1. His Way of Teaching
Jesus teaches with authority –– of course he does, because he is the Son of God! He is the one who has the words of eternal life. He has been at the Father’s side from all eternity. He has come to teach us the way to the Kingdom of Heaven. So many voices in our world today can confuse us and make us doubt our faith. Can we not just listen with hearts of faith to the simple message that Jesus Christ is the Way, the Truth, and the Life?
2. Jesus Is in Charge
Jesus commands the evil one, and he submits. The evil one fears Christ’s power. The evil one is silenced and chased out by a mere word from Christ. So often we worry and fear that sin and evil have a grip on us that we cannot break. We worry we cannot live up to what the Lord expects of us. Yet, his word makes that evil one flee immediately. He can do the same in our lives if we put our total trust in him.
3. The Evil I Can’t Overcome
What is the major evil or sin that I have not been able to expel? What is the primary fault or defect in my life? All my effort to improve has been blocked by this insidious power, greater than my virtue. I need to turn to Christ and put my trust in his word of life. I need to ask him to free me from that power which consumes me and holds me back from loving and giving myself to him and to others.
Conversation with Christ: Speak that word of life, Lord. Free me from the power of the evil one. Do not let him run my life or keep me from your love. Give me your grace and I will be satisfied.
Resolution: I will be bold and trust in the Lord’s power to help me overcome my faults and the power of the devil’s influence on my life.
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