The Gospel reading at Mass today, the 4th Sunday in Ordinary time, speaks of a healing in Capernaum, in Galilee.
Jesus and his followers went as far as Capernaum, and as soon as the sabbath came he went to the synagogue and began to teach.
And his teaching made a deep impression on them because, unlike the ,scribes, he taught them with authority.
In their synagogue just then there was a man possessed by an unclean spirit and it shouted, ‘What do you want with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are: the Holy One of God.’ But Jesus said sharply, ‘Be quiet! Come out of him!’ And the unclean spirit threw the man into convulsions and with a loud cry went out of him.
The people were so astonished that they started asking each other what it all meant. ‘Here is a teaching that is new’ they said ‘and with authority behind it: he gives orders even to unclean spirits and they obey him.’
And his reputation rapidly spread everywhere, through all the surrounding Galilean countryside.
The Gospel is spoken and shared today that there may be healing of our hearts and our minds.
Often, like the unclean spirit in the gospel, we know about Jesus, but are unwilling for, even fearful of, his exercising power over us.
Good Christians are not so much those who ‘do for Jesus’ as those who allow him to ‘do for them’. It is frightening to contemplate what change he might bring about in our lives, for we have often grown used to our accommodations. But he calls us to freedom, to newness, and the life that comes from love, flourishes by love, and produces a harvest of love.
Pray to Holy Spirit for the courage to say yes to God today.
Photograph of carving from the Church of St Peter in Capernaum. (c) Allen Morris, 2013