FOURTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME
(Green) Cycle B/ Year I (January 31, 2021)
Dt 18:15-20/1 Cor 7:32-35/Mk 1:21-28
One of the most versatile minds of ancient Rome in the name of Marcus Tullius Cicero once said: “Whatever you do, do it with your might.” This teaching of Cicero is the same teaching that we can find in the Old Testament book of Ecclesiastes which says: “Whatever work you find to do, do it with all your might” (Eccl 9:10a). And this is what we have seen in the gospel for this Sunday. The people were so astonished with what they had seen Jesus was doing. Jesus was teaching new things in the synagogue and commanding the unclean spirit with powerful authority. Although Jesus was acclaimed for what He had done and His fame spread around the Galilean country side, still there were a lot of people who questioned Him and His authority and never believed in Him. Indeed, we can apply to Jesus’ situation the teaching of Cicero that goes: “The authority of those who profess to teach is often a positive hindrance to those who desire to learn.”
Jesus Christ created an impact to the Jews of His time because of His novel teachings and authoritative actions. His teachings were different from the teachings of the scribes and the Pharisees and often times they seemed contrary to their teachings and to the teachings of the Old Testament books. His actions were powerful that He could cure the sick, raise the dead to life and do other miracles. Yet the Jews could not completely know and understand Him; they simply gathered around Him to listen to His novel teachings and admire His authoritative actions. But the reason behind Christ’s powerful actions and teachings and his impact and influence during His time and even until our present time is revealed in the gospel by the words uttered by the unclean spirit to Jesus: “I know who you are: the Holy One of God” (Mk 1:24). Jesus is the Christ, the Messiah or Savior. He is the Holy One of God, the Son of God. In other words, He Himself is the God.
A genuine disciple or Christian makes an impact to the society in which he lives. All the saints of all times have created a difference and influence to their surroundings since their times and until now. This is because they followed the example of Jesus Christ of giving novel teachings and demonstrating authoritative actions. The teachings that they shared were none other than those of Jesus Christ and His Church. The novelty consisted in the witnessing that they showed to back up their teachings. Indeed, they taught and proclaimed the gospel of Christ not only with their words but most especially with their deeds. The authority in their actions and activities originated from the fact that they lived only and only for Jesus Christ. We are called to be like the saints; we are called to imitate Christ!
If we really want to be true Christians and imitate Christ, we have to make Christ the first priority of our lives. We have to set aside our selfish desires and do not go with the flow of the unstable culture. We have to fix our eyes on the Lord and stay firm with Him at all times and in any situation we are. This fidelity with the Lord demands that we sacrifice our likings and wishes that are not in congruent with the Will and Laws of God and not even follow the teachings of Christ and of His Church. It also requires the willingness to offer the whole self to the Lord and the actuality of living according to the life of Christ.
Furthermore, to become genuine Christians we have to make an impact in our present society. This does not mean that we must be powerful and rich to become influential in our society; it does not imply that we invent new things or do marvelous activities so that others may praise us and put us in a pedestal. It simply means that we have to become different from other people. In the words of the former US President Barack Obama in his response letter to Eight-year-old Fil-Am Karina Encarnacion who recommended to him a dog that he should buy for his daughters and even suggested to him when he assumed the presidency to make a law that would require everyone to recycle and to ban unnecessary wars, he says: “Strive to make a difference everywhere you go.” Yes, as Christians, we have to make a difference and such difference should be inspired by the Christian ideals. We have to live the very life of Christ so that we may become witnesses of Christ to the present world and attract other people to love and follow Christ. Through the intercession of our Blessed Mother, the Virgin Mary, may we become different from others due to the fact that from now on we sacrifice our selfish interests and become faithful to the teachings of Christ and of His Church. May such difference be that we begin to demonstrate novel teachings and authoritative actions like Christ and His saints because we are living now the very life of Christ, the life of being the children of God.