Power, Authority, and Amazement

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Tuesday of the Twenty-Second Week in Ordinary Time

Luke 4:31-37
Jesus went down to Capernaum, a town of Galilee. He taught them on the Sabbath, and they were astonished at his teaching because he spoke with authority. In the synagogue there was a man with the spirit of an unclean demon, and he cried out in a loud voice, “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!” Jesus rebuked him and said, “Be quiet! Come out of him!” Then the demon threw the man down in front of them and came out of him without doing him any harm. They were all amazed and said to one another, “What is there about his word? For with authority and power he commands the unclean spirits, and they come out.” And news of him spread everywhere in the surrounding region.
Opening Prayer: Dear Jesus, open my heart and my ears to listen to your words with childlike amazement. May the power of your words govern my mind and my heart to whatever it is you desire of me today. I believe in your all-consuming interest in my life, even though I don’t always acknowledge it. I hope in the strength of your grace to sustain my efforts to respond to your love today. And I especially thank you for blessing me with a new day. Lord, “you are faithful in all his words and holy in all your works” (Psalms 145:13).
Encountering Christ: 

  1. Jesus Speaks with Authority: St. Luke begins Jesus’s public ministry highlighting his competency as the Redeemer. Jesus wants to make his Lordship known so we understand who he really is and what he is capable of doing. He challenges any of our doubts with his firm, clear, and direct command to heal our broken humanity. With a spoken word and simple gesture, he reveals the intent of his heart to cure us of the hold of the devil and the effects of sin. When was the last time someone spoke in a way that made a deep impression upon me? Who in my life has spoken or acted with authority to bring me to live in the truth and give deeper meaning to my life? Thank the Lord for a good confession, a stern rebuke from a loved one, or sound advice from a friend or spiritual director as ways his authority continues to make me see and embrace my need for his healing power.  
  2. Jesus Commands with Power: The demons recognized Jesus’s powerful presence and identity as the “Holy One of God” and “Son of God.” They fled and lost their grip when they encountered the Lord’s authority. Faced with evil or temptation, we need not fear. We can exhibit courage simply through an act of faith, such as making the sign of the cross and invoking the Lord’s name, with the same effectiveness to release the power of the Lord. His power is still accessible to us. There is simply no limit to God’s authority, goodness, and mercy. No matter how many times we may turn our backs on God, reject his approaches, or abuse his gifts, he will never give up on us if we keep trusting in the power of his grace.
  3. The Amazement of the People: It is easy to take so much for granted and overlook the magnificence of God’s action taking place around us. What does it take to capture my attention, to be in awe, and to recognize the power and majesty of God? Am I amazed at who Jesus is and what he can do in my life? Even more amazing is how he continues to advance the kingdom through the sanctification of my daily life. He continues going about doing good and touching the lives of others through me! Jesus opens a new path before us each day! By faith in Jesus, we can once again place ourselves before God. We can pray to him and be certain that his grace is having an effect on our life and impacting the world around us. 

Conversing with Christ: Lord, I know I can be complacent and take for granted the goodness of the Father’s providence in my life. Yet, you never stop challenging me to be vigilant in turning away from evil and leading me toward what is “true, pure, honorable, lovely”(Philippians 4:8). Let me be amazed by your words and open to the truth revealed to me in Scripture. Wake me up from my dullness of heart. Help me Lord to experience true freedom in your vision of how I should live. 
Resolution: Lord, today by your grace I will pay special attention to where I am attached to a bad habit or where I give into temptations of pride, vanity, or lust. When I recognize those things, I will pause and call to mind your powerful words, invoking your name “the Holy One of God” to have authority over my life. I will then ask your forgiveness and that, in your mercy, you show me how to be more like you.
For Further Reflection: Catechism of the Catholic Church 1293-1299 on the sacrament of confirmation: All-powerful God, Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, by water and the Holy Spirit you freed your sons and daughters from sin and gave them new life. Send your Holy Spirit upon them to be their helper and guide. Give them the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of right judgment and courage, the spirit of knowledge, and reverence. Fill them with the spirit of wonder and awe in your presence. We ask this through Christ our Lord.
Written by Lucy Honner, CRC

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