Messiah – Not Dominating, but Serving and Giving Himself

Weekly Missionary Reflection
4th Sunday in Ordinary Time, 31 January 2021

Deut. 18:15-20; Ps. 95:1-2,6-7,8-9; 1Cor. 7:32-35; Mark 1:21-28

Together with His disciples, Jesus moves from the Sea of Galilee to the synagogue; from ordinary setting to sacred place. The disciples are ready to be the witnesses of Jesus’ teaching and miracles. Jesus immediately enters the synagogue in Capernaum and teaches there. As a Son filled with the Holy Spirit, His teaching is certainly true and authoritative in guiding God’s people. No wonder the entire synagogue is amazed at His teaching. His way of teaching is indeed extraordinary. As the Son of God, Jesus does not need to quote the teachings of Moses, the Prophet or the rabbis before Him, as generally done by the Jewish teachers. The power of Jesus’ teaching comes directly from the Father who has granted Him with Holy Spirit.

Jesus’ teachings also set His listeners free. Now they dare to criticize the scribes, who are far less qualified than Jesus. For all the time they have been silent, agreeable and blindly obedient to the teachings and any rules conveyed by the teachers of the Torah. Jesus’ teachings open their eyes to the newness of the Gospel. The Gospel preached by Jesus is powerful for mobilizing the changes, changing attitudes and directing steps. The synagogue is a symbol of a rigid religion that only demands adherence to orders and rules. Religion becomes an imprisonment, where people might feel comfortable under the control of the Torah teachers, who force them through rituals and regulations. As soon as Jesus speaks, His listeners get a fresh air of renewal. In Him, power is used to serve, to free people from any imprisonments and bonds.

However, there are always disagreeing voices that do not want change and choose the safe path. Devils always have agents and supporters, such as: evil spirits. They can possess someone, and can even be present at synagogue services. It is unusual for a possessed person to attend a worship. The evil is clever at sneaking into pious and religious community. Places of worship often become the shelter of bigots and fanatics. Despite of one possessed person, they could cry out loud: “What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth?” Singular and plural alternate in their words. The evil divides humans. His identity is messed up and no longer intact. He is also full of screams, yells and shakings. Evil spirit fills the people with violence, compulsion and lust for power. Therefore, Jesus restores the person’s authenticity and dignity by casting out the evil spirit.

The possessed man declares that he knows Jesus as “the Holy One of God”. This title relates to Jesus as the Messiah anointed by the Holy Spirit at His baptism. However, the Messiah desired by the evil spirit is definitely a national warrior and liberator who takes violent and coercive ways. Thus, the evil voice must be silenced! Jesus is indeed a powerful Liberator. However, His power is not used for dominating and controlling, but for serving and self-giving. It is only later, on the cross, that the title “Messiah” could be no longer misunderstood.

(Hortensio Mandaru – Indonesia Bible Society, Jakarta)

DAILY DEDICATED PRAYER

Lord, our Father, I present my today prayer, thought, word, work, joy and sorrow in the unity with Your Son, Jesus Christ, who always presents Himself in the Eucharist for the world salvation. May the Holy Spirit, as the soul of Jesus, also lead and give me the strength today so that I am ready to be the witness of Your love.

Together with St. Mary, Mother of Jesus and the Church, I specially present my prayer to our Pope and Indonesian Church prayer apostles of this month:

For Evangelization intention:
Fraternity among the human beings: May the Lord grant us with strong fraternity for us to live in harmony with our brothers from different religions by being open and praying for each other. We pray …

For Indonesian Churches intention:
Community solidarity: As a nation, may we be able to continue and increasingly develop solidarity, escpecially for the poor and those who suffer from Covid-19 outbreak. We pray …

Special Intention for the year of St. Joseph:
Let us entrust this whole year into Your love, as seen in the offering of St. Joseph who accompanies Mother Mary in caring for The Son through sorrow and joy in Nazareth. We pray ……

Amen

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