Jesus came to Capernaum with his followers,
and on the sabbath he 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. In their synagogue was a man with an
unclean spirit; 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!” Jesus rebuked him and said,
“Quiet! Come out of him!” The unclean spirit convulsed him
and with a loud cry came out of him.
All were amazed and asked one another, “What is this?
A new teaching with authority. He commands even the
unclean spirits and they obey him.” His fame spread
everywhere throughout the whole region of Galilee.
Prayer: Lord, I long to put you first in my
life. It is easy to get caught up in
daily activities. But you are not just another activity: you
are my Lord and my God. I do believe
in you, but I know that I need to believe
in you more strongly. I do love you, but
I must still strive to love you more than
I love myself and my plans. I wish to offer
you the best of myself right now in this
time of conversation with you.
Petition: Lord, may
I understand that you are the truth. May I love
you as Truth-made-incarnate in my heart.
1. Truth and
the Good Interwoven: “For he taught them as one having
authority and not as the scribes.” In his encyclical
The Splendor of Truth, Pope John Paul II reminded us
of the necessary link between freedom, truth and the
good. He went so far as to say that
a correct understanding of this link is essential for the
salvation of the world. Jesus taught with authority because
he was both the Truth and the Good. Our
freedom consists in recognizing this and living accordingly. Do I
sincerely seek the truth in my life? Do I
sincerely seek what is truly good, or am I
conforming myself in some way to the hedonistic and self-seeking
standards of the world?
2. Multiplying Our Good: “What have
you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have
you come to destroy us?” When our freedom refuses to
recognize that Jesus is the Truth and that
our greatest good consists in loving and following him, we
feel threatened. We try to hold on to the
good we imagine that we have apart from him.
He does not want to take away the good we
have, but rather he wishes to increase and multiply
it. But to do so we must allow lesser goods
we now have to die so that greater goods
might rise with strength. Unless the seed falls to
the ground and dies, it remains just a seed. But
if it dies it rises to new life (cf.
3. The Demands of Truth: “All were
amazed and asked one another, ‘What is this? A new
teaching with authority.’” Today we live in a relativistic
world, where truth is whatever we want it to
be. “Whatever makes you comfortable” is the motto of the
day. We are amazed when Jesus breaks the mold
of relativism, revealing the lie hidden within it and
proclaims that he is the Truth. When the Gospel makes
demands on my life, do I shift into relativism
and believe that it makes no difference how or
if I respond? If the Gospel makes me comfortable I
will obey, but if not…. Truth can be demanding,
but what a blessing it is that, in the person
of Christ, truth is also love, mercy, goodness and
joy. Do I love the truth and strive to
live in the light?
Conversation with Christ: Lord, you
know how easily I excuse myself from meeting your
demands for my life. I do so even while knowing
that when I fulfill them I always discover new
strength, hidden energy and untapped resources of love within
me. Help me to give myself to you in love,
to meet your demands, and to experience the power
of grace unleashed within me.
I will offer Christ something that is good but not
necessary. By doing this, I will show my love
for him and grow in self-detachment, so I can
be more open to the good that he wishes to