Then they came to Capernaum, and on the sabbath Jesus entered the synagogue and taught. The people were astonished at his teaching, for he taught them as one having authority and not as the scribes.
UNDERSTAND | By Father Greg Friedman, OFM
I have a seminary classmate who will occasionally chide me when we’re having a conversation—or rather, when he’s talking to me. If he perceives me not really paying attention to him, he’ll say, “Gregory, are you in my world?” What he means is, “Are you listening to me?”
Listening is crucial. When it comes to the Word of God, listening is absolutely essential. Today’s first reading and Gospel share the theme of “listening.” Moses tells the people that God will raise up a prophet for them; God is giving them a prophet, since the people were too frightened when they heard God address them directly—the people feel that a human intermediary would be easier to listen to. But Moses warns them: They’d better listen to God’s prophet in that case—not listening will have consequences!
In the Gospel Jesus performs an exorcism. In doing so, he demonstrates that even the unclean spirits listen to him. The people who witness the event are amazed at this, and Jesus’ fame spreads. He is the fulfillment of that request from the people long ago. He is prophet par excellence, speaking God’s Word. But even more: He is God’s Word enfleshed. Hidden in the Gospel story is the unspoken question: Will we listen to him? Will we choose to be part of his world, the Kingdom of God which Jesus is bringing into our midst?
DISCUSS | By Father Dan Kroger, OFM
What did Moses tell the people, according to this week’s first reading (Dt 18:15-20)? What was his promise?
Why did the people fear to have God speak to them directly?
In the second reading (1 Cor 7:32-35), Paul gives his advice to the Corinthians about the duties and worries of those who marry. So, he suggests that it might be better if people do not marry. What do you think about this?
In the Gospel (Mk 1:21-28), Jesus and his disciples came to Capernaum and on the sabbath Jesus went into the synagogue and was teaching. What is a synagogue? What did Jesus do in the synagogue?
When Jesus ordered the evil spirit to come out of the man what happened?
Were the people impressed by the power of Jesus?
This week’s second reading talks about anxiety. Make a list of some things you worry about. Then write some steps you can take to help you worry less.
The Gospel makes reference to an unclean spirit. Make a list of some things you think would cause a person to have an unclean spirit, such as lying. How could someone make up for such actions?