Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time
First Reading: Deuteronomy 18: 15-20
The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among your own people; you shall heed such a prophet. (15)
Continuing after the Ten Commandments God spoke to Moses his prophet and gave him these instructions. In the preceding verses, God tells his people how they are to detest pagan practices. “When you come into the land that the Lord your God is giving you, you must not learn to imitate the abhorrent practices of those nations.” (9) The practices mentioned are: “…divination, or is a soothsayer, or an augur, or a sorcerer, or one who casts spells, or who consults ghosts or spirits, or who seeks oracles from the dead.” (10-11)
We must turn our ears to the teachings of the Catholic Church and arm ourselves with knowledge that will save our souls. Be alert, the devil prowls about in the guise of what seems to be ‘good’ for us! After all, he was once an angel of light, we must be aware of his tactics –they largely remain the same as they were at Eve’s time!!
In Jesus, we have the victory! Amen!
Responsorial Psalm: Psalms 95: 1-2, 6-9
O come, let us worship and bow down, let us kneel before the Lord, our Maker! For he is our God, and we are the people of his pasture, and the sheep of his hand. O that today you would listen to his voice! Do not harden your hearts, as at Meribah, as on the day at Massah in the wilderness, when your ancestors tested me, and put me to the proof, though they had seen my work. (6-9)
Second Reading: First Corinthians 7: 32-35
I want you to be free from anxieties. (32)
I say this for your own benefit, not to put any restraint upon you, but to promote good order and unhindered devotion to the Lord. (35)
St. Peter said “Cast all your anxiety on him, because he cares for you. Discipline yourselves, keep alert. Like a roaring lion your adversary the devil prowls around, looking for someone to devour.” (1Peter 5:7-8)
Let us believe these words and act accordingly. We must remind ourselves every morning before we start our day. Throughout the day as we meet challenges we must keep reminding ourselves to turn our troubles over to the Lord God. Jesus is ever at our side, we must turn in our hearts towards him! When he speaks gently to our spirit, we hear a soothing caress that strokes our fears away! We must train our hearts to follow the voice that leads us in quiet confidence to pools of refreshing waters. Discipline is our shield as disciples of God who creates order and clarity. In God there is no confusion, therefore we must shun confusion and the best way to do that is to remain ordered in our mind first, then our emotions, then our daily work. Gradually we will notice our lives are free of anxieties if we remain disciplined in God! Not because we know all and can do all, but because we know God can, as we leave the worries to him!
In Jesus’ name, Amen!
Gospel: Mark 1: 21-28
But Jesus rebuked him, saying, “Be silent, and come out of him!” And the unclean spirit, convulsing him and crying with a loud voice, came out of him. (25-26)
The scribes, Pharisees, and the unclean spirits followed Jesus everywhere, even inside God’s house of prayer! Christ Jesus rebuked the unclean spirit and drew him out of there. There may be a need for us to rebuke the unclean spirits within us first. We are the temples of the Holy Spirit, yet evil can lurk inside any one of us, at any time. But Christ gave us the authority to cast out demons! – Remember: (Matthew 10:1, 7-8) Then Jesus summoned his twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to cure every disease and every sickness. As you go, proclaim the good news, ‘The kingdom of heaven has come near.’ Cure the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out demons. You received without payment; give without payment.
Hence, being grafted into the discipleship of Christ through the baptism of the Holy Spirit and anointed by the first apostles, we share similar authority. – Also proclaimed by St. Paul (2 Cor 6:16-18) What agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; as God said, “I will live in them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Therefore come out from them, and be separate from them, says the Lord, and touch nothing unclean; then I will welcome you, and I will be your father, and you shall be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty.” We are also accorded sonship, with Christ as our brother! We ask our Lord Jesus Christ to grant us the wisdom, courage, and humility to exercise our authority in our lives today. Let us walk in authority with Christ Jesus. We can recite in faith: “No weapon formed against us shall prosper, in Jesus’ name. Amen!”
Praise You, God, in Jesus’ name, Amen!