Réflexions sur l'Evangile

4th Sunday of Ordinary Time

Mark 1:21-28

Sunday Gospel Reflection by Sister Maureen O'Brien

Publié: January 28, 2018

Each day I turn to the word of God for good news and for words which soothe, empower and give my life direction. This is especially true at this time because of all the severely divisive and hateful words I hear and read.

How does God’s word help me to survive or better yet, find hope?  How do I, as a member of a community of  believers, love all my brothers and sisters as myself and stand with them as a disciple of Jesus.

These are questions I live and struggle with each day.

In Mark’s Gospel for January 28, the Fourth Week in Ordinary Time, Jesus witnesses to his true authority in Mark 1:21-28. Mark brings us with him into the synagogue of Capharnaum where Jesus teaches with authority and then drives out an unclean spirit from a man.  When the unclean spirit addresses him as the “Holy One of God,” in verse 24, Jesus immediately cuts him off in order to protect the “Messianic Secret.” He then commands the spirit to be quiet and “Come out of the man.”

It’s clear to me, when I’m honest with myself, that it’s not just the nameless man who is inhabited by an unclean spirit. I have my own unclean spirits and they have names like pride and righteousness which feed a sense of false authority.   And I too, like him, need to go to Jesus in prayer and ask to be freed.

For Mark, the exercise of Jesus’ authority is central to the moment in the synagogue.  The nameless man and the nameless spirit there are just backdrops to the action when the Father’s authority shines through Jesus.

But, in my everyday world of hateful words, I need to name those I know like Sister Jeannette Pierre-Louis, a Haitian Sister of Notre Dame de Namur who shows the women in the slum of La Savane the way to a better life for themselves and their families and Mariam, my Jordanian neighbor in Connecticut with whom I studied the Koran.  Their names and their witness humanize me and  give me hope.



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