21Then they came to Capernaum, 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; 24 he 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.
What emerges from this narrative of exorcism is a man whose power amazes everybody but who remains a “stranger” because nobody can quite explain where his authority comes from. Examining the Gospel of Mark, biblical scholars have realized that the evangelist pictures the crowd and even Jesus’ disciples as often “not understanding” Jesus. Jesus does not fully reveal his identity (as the Messiah) because they are not prepared to accept the kind of Messiah that he is: indeed, one with authority to teach and work miracles, but one who has to undergo humiliation, suffering and death. The people are waiting instead for a glorious political leader.
Jesus’ presence continues to disturb, for he challenges us to a new way of thinking. He is a “revolutionary,” not quite in the mold we make of him. When justice seems to be served by vengeance (“a tooth for a tooth), he teaches that greater justice is to conquer one’s enemy with goodness. When he can destroy his tormentors on Calvary, he chooses to hang on the cross.
Jesus’ “new authority” summons us to a higher kind of morality and spirituality. By that authority we are called to become holy and struggle for perfection, at the same time to challenge the ways of the satisfied and the complacent.
Credits: Fr. Gil A. Alinsangan, SSP; On the Way of the Cross, excerpts
Source: The Reflection is from Bro. Abel Navarro (you can visit his blog at http://myblogabelnavarroabel.blogspot.com/).