Taste and See: Christ teaches – who learns?

hagia sophia

The Gospel reading at Mass on Sunday, the 4th Sunday in Ordinary time, spoke of Jesus as teacher and healer

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.

Mark 1:21-28

Sunday was Education Sunday. A day for thanking God, and praying, for those who have the vocation to be teachers.

In the Gospel the people are quick to distinguish Jesus from other teachers and to identify the difference in the authority he displays and the power he exercises.

As the Gospel narrative proceeds Jesus remains authoritative and powerful, but many people prove themselves unwilling to learn from him.

It is easy to ‘blame’ teachers for people’s failure to learn, and of course good teachers often have good strategies to engage unwilling learners and tease them into helpful engagement with the matter at hand. Even so teaching and learning is always a cooperative venture.

  • What might the Lord be seeking to help you learn, that you might be resisting?
  • What might you be longing to help others learn that they might be resisting? What other approaches might you take to help their learning?

Image derived from photograph of mosaic of Christ from Hagia Sophia, Istanbul. (c) 2002, Allen Morris.