Have you ever met someone who really commanded a room? I used to be in Boy Scouts and we had great adult leaders in our troop. One time we paired up for a campout with another troop and one of their adults was this old, grizzled, veteran leader with a huge, bushy red mustache. When he spoke everyone listened and trusted what he said to be true. When he asked us to build a fire or clean up or go get firewood, we immediately set to doing what he asked. This leader spoke with authority.
In the gospel today, Jesus confronts unclean spirits who have possessed a man. Immediately the spirits know who Jesus is – “The Holy One of God.” Then Jesus orders them out and frees the man. Those who saw Jesus heal this man are amazed and said, “What is this? A new teaching with authority.”
People who speak with authority usually do so because their actions back up their words. We listen to them because they walk the walk. Our gospel twice confirms that people think of Jesus as one who teaches and then acts with authority.
This simple story begs us to make a decision about Jesus.
Either Jesus teaches with authority or he does not. The question for us is whether or not we let Jesus have authority in our life. Do we listen to his words as if they carry final authority? Do we let Jesus “author” or write our lives? The people of Capernaum recognized the authority of Jesus’ teaching and actions. Will we?
Pick 1 teaching of Jesus. Pray the words every morning and live it every day for one week.
Here are some examples of simple teaching:
Turn the other cheek – Matthew 5:39
Do not let your heart be troubled – John 14:1
Sell your belongings and give alms – Luke 12:33
Let your ‘Yes’ mean ‘Yes’ and your ‘No’ mean ‘No’ – Matthew 5:37
Love your enemies – Matthew 5:44
Ask – Matthew 7:7
You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart – Matthew 22:37
You shall love your neighbor as yourself – Matthew 22:39