Fr Paul Gooley begins by explaining the cycle of readings we hear on Sundays and on weekdays and then he reads today’s Gospel from Mark (1: 21-28) in which Jesus commands an unclean spirit to ‘Be quiet!’ and to come out of person it was possessing.

Fr Paul says this story goes one 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 that they drop everything to follow him.

Now in the synagogue he teaches on his own authority. He does not quote other Rabbis, as they did, saying, ‘Rabbi X says this, Rabbi Y says that’. No, Jesus teaches, ‘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 it raises the question ‘who does he think he is?’.

Then, to confirm just how authoritative his teaching is, he shows his authority by overcoming the dreaded unclean spirit, and we hear the spirits sniveling protest, ‘Have you come to destroy us?’. The unclean spirit also knows and acknowledges that Jesus is the Holy One of God.

Today, in our reflection Fr Paul says, we might ask ourselves…What is unclean in me at the moment and needs the healing of the Holy One of God?