Tuesday – First Week – OT1

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Tuesday – First Week – OT1

 

Readings: Heb 2:5-12; Mk 1:21-28.

1/ Reading I: NAB Hebrews 2:5 For it was not to angels that he subjected the world to come, of which we are speaking. 6 Instead, someone has testified somewhere: “What is man that you are mindful of him, or the son of man that you care for him? 7 You made him for a little while lower than the angels; you crowned him with glory and honor, 8 subjecting all things under his feet.” In “subjecting” all things (to him), he left nothing not “subject to him.” Yet at present we do not see “all things subject to him,” 9 but we do see Jesus “crowned with glory and honor” because he suffered death, he who “for a little while” was made “lower than the angels,” that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone. 10 For it was fitting that he, for whom and through whom all things exist, in bringing many children to glory, should make the leader to their salvation perfect through suffering. 11 He who consecrates and those who are being consecrated all have one origin. Therefore, he is not ashamed to call them “brothers,” 12 saying: “I will proclaim your name to my brothers, in the midst of the assembly I will praise you”.

2/ Gospel: NAB Mark 1:21 Then they came to Capernaum, and on the sabbath he entered the synagogue and taught. 22 The people were astonished at his teaching, for he taught them as one having authority and not as the scribes. 23 In their synagogue was a man with an unclean spirit; 24 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 Jesus rebuked him and said, “Quiet! 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.


Written by: Fr. Anthony Tien M. Dinh, O.P.

I. THEME: Jesus’ authority           

            To convince others, a preacher needs to have authority in both words and deeds. Besides his understanding and argument, a preacher must also know how to present his topic clearly, concisely and easily for audience to understand. However, words just help to understand; in order to completely convince his audience, a preacher needs to live as he preached for others to believe in him.

            Today readings emphasize Jesus’ authority. In the first reading, Jesus is the reason for people to be recovered to their original justice– people have authority over all things. In the Gospel, Jesus’ audience recognized right away the difference between him and the scribes and cried out: “What is this? A new teaching with authority! He commands even the unclean spirits and they obey him.”

II. ANALYSIS:

1/ Reading I: Everything must be subjected to people.

            To understand the author’s idea in this passage, we need to understand the meaning of the noun “man.” Sometimes the author used it with a general meaning for a human being, other time for Jesus as the representative of human beings. In the latter case, the noun must be capitalized. We can make a difference between three situations of human beings as follows:

1.1/ The dignity of human beings in God’s will: The author believed that human beings shall govern the future world when he said, “For it was not to angels that he subjected the world to come, of which we are speaking. Instead, someone has testified somewhere: What is man that you are mindful of him, or the son of man that you care for him? You made him for a little while lower than the angels; you crowned him with glory and honor, subjecting all things under his feet.” In “subjecting” all things (to him), he left nothing not “subject to him.””

            – The passage was illustrated by the author here is Psalm 8:5-7 which talked about human dignity. People are honored over all things in God’s will.

            – One thing that related to the passage we need to pay attention to: The LXX used “lower than the angels,” while the MT used “lower than God, Elohim.” According to the context, the LXX is more reasonable if we understand human situation after the original sin, they are lower than the angels. The MT’s using is correct in God’s will and after the human dignity is recovered by Christ.

1.2/ The dignity of human beings after the original sin: The author wrote: “Yet at present we do not see “all things subject to him.”” This is the human situation after the original sin and before Christ’s redemption.

1.3/ The dignity of human beings after Christ’s redemption: Through sufferings, Christ redeemed the original dignity for human beings. The author wrote, “but we do see Jesus “crowned with glory and honor” because he suffered death, he who “for a little while” was made “lower than the angels,” that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone. For it was fitting that he, for whom and through whom all things exist, in bringing many children to glory, should make the leader to their salvation perfect through suffering.”

            According to the author, in God’s eternal will, human beings are only lesser than God, but higher than all things, including the angels. When people sinned, the order is reversed, human beings are lesser than the angels; but God already had a plan to recover the original order for human beings through Christ. The author explained, “For it was fitting that he, for whom and through whom all things exist, in bringing many children to glory, should make the leader to their salvation perfect through suffering. He who consecrates and those who are being consecrated all have one origin. Therefore, he is not ashamed to call them “brothers,” saying: “I will proclaim your name to my brothers, in the midst of the assembly I will praise you”.”

2/ Gospel: “What is this? A new teaching with authority. He commands even the unclean spirits and they obey him.”

           

2.1/ Jesus’ authorative teaching: The audiences were amazed about Jesus teaching, as Mark reported: “The people were astonished at his teaching, for he taught them as one having authority and not as the scribes.”

            – “One having authority”: He clearly knew what he is talking, not based on what others said. This is understandable if people recognized that Christ is God’s wisdom or mind. He knew all things that happen in the past, the present and the future. Many times in the Gospel, Jesus corrected the wrong understanding of the Jewish tradition, as in Matthew: “It was said to your ancestors … But I say to you… ” (Mt 5:21-22).

            – The scribes: They only understood things partly, not wholly. Their teaching must be based on the authority of Scripture to verify their explannation; not to invent a new doctrinal teaching.

 

2.2/ Jesus had power over the unclean spirits: Mark reported, “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!”” The Jews believed that there are many unclean spirits in the world, and Jesus himself expelled them from people many times in the Gospel; for example, in today passage. These unclean spirits can be the souls of evil people who aren’t liberated yet or the Nephilim, those who was born after the sons of heaven had intercourse with the daughters of man (Gen 6:1-4).

            (1) The Holy One of God: The evil spirit knew Jesus’ origin and goal. He knew that Jesus came from God and his goal is to destroy sins and those who caused sins. Moreover, he also recovers the original holiness for people and makes them worthy for the beatific vision.

            (2) Jesus’ reaction: He rebuked the unclean spirit, “Quiet! Come out of him!” The unclean spirit convulsed him and with a loud cry came out of him.

            (3) People’s reaction: 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.”

           

III. APPLICATION IN LIFE:       

            – Since Christ died to recover our original dignity, we need to imitate Christ to destroy sins and to avoid all the unclean spirits’ influences

            – To convince others to believe in Christ, we need to master Christ’s teaching before we can preach it to others. A life according to the Gospel will help to convince others to believe than pure teaching.

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