Fr Paul reads from the Gospel of Mark (1: 21-28) in which, as Jesus teaches in the synagogue, a man with an impure spirit says to Jesus, ‘I know who you are – The Holy One of God!’Fr Paul says this story takes us a step further in showing the growing authority of Jesus, which is the theme of the early part of Mark’s gospel. He has already called the disciples. He calls and they simply follow. It seems that he is a total stranger to them; yet, with such authority, they drop everything to follow him. Now in the synagogue he teaches on his own authority. He does not quote the interpretations of others, as rabbinic teachers did, saying, ‘This Rabbi says this or that Rabbi says that’. No, in Jesus teaching, he says, ‘I say to you…’ He seems to be master even of the Law. But it is God’s Law. Only God has authority over it, so who does Jesus think he is? Then, to show just how authoritative his teaching is Jesus calls out the unclean spirit. Despite the unclean spirit protests, ‘Have you come to destroy us?’, the unclean Spirit acknowledges that Jesus has a special link with God. Mindful of the Gospel today, Fr Paul notes, the lesson in it is – by living our lives like Christ we too can get others to follow him.
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