Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time (B) Green
Dt 18: 15-20 • Ps 95 • 1 Cor 7:32–35
Mk 1:21–28 • The Cure of a Demoniac
21Jesus came to Capernaum with his followers, and on the sabbath he entered the synagogue and taught. 22The people were astonished at his teaching, for he taught them as one having authority and not as the scribes. 23In their synagogue was a man with an unclean spirit; 24he 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!” 25Jesus rebuked him and said, “Quiet! Come out of him!” 26The unclean spirit convulsed him and with a loud cry came out of him. 27All were amazed and asked one another, “What is this? A new teaching with authority. He commands even the unclean spirits and they obey him.” 28His fame spread everywhere throughout the whole region of Galilee.
Of Temples and Synagogues
An old joke is told about Juan who accidentally left his new bicycle at the town plaza. He was crying, thinking he won’t find it there anymore. When he came back the following day, he was surprised to see his bicycle there intact and in place just the way he left it the day before.
Bursting with happiness and excitement, he went to the church to thank God for it. After several minutes, when he was about to go home, he could not find his bicycle anymore. It was stolen right there in the church premises.
I find this joke both funny and sad. Isn’t it true that sometimes, we encounter frustrations and heartaches in the least place expected?
In today’s Gospel, we find an unclean spirit in the midst of people in a synagogue, a supposedly holy place. Yet the evil spirit is able to infiltrate. The message is clear! There’s no place safe enough for you to hide against the devil. Every place and every aspect of our life is always vulnerable. The devil is always lurking in the darkness, waiting for our moment of weakness and pride. We feel helpless at times.
But remember that we are living temples of the Holy Spirit, a “synagogue in person”; God is dwelling in us already. God is speaking and preaching within us. We only need to recognize his voice and listen to his words. Whenever you feel down and beaten by voices, confusions, and anxieties, close your eyes. Try to recognize and listen to the voice that matters, Jesus’ voice. His voice is so powerful that the devil will tremble and go away.
This is no easy task. But just like what the Psalmist says, “If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts,” then there’s nothing to worry about. This is the key and the only way to guard the Spirit’s temple—you—against confusion and evil. Never allow God’s voice to be drowned by others. Pray and be strong! Believe that God is in you.
- What is a synagogue?
- How did Jesus expel the evil spirit?
- In this Gospel passage, what does authority mean?
- Examine yourself. What are the voices you hear and follow? Are they from God?
- How does God communicate to you? Do you recognize the voice of God speaking to you?
- When you pray, do you allow God to talk to you or do you do all the talking?
- Spend some time in front of the Holy Eucharist after Mass today.
- Pray without using words. Be still and talk to God in silence.
- List down the things and the voices that distract you in your prayer. Offer them to God.