Sunday Readings

Readings for the Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Andrea Mardegan comments on the readings of the IV Sunday in Ordinary Time

Andrea Mardegan-January 31, 2021-Reading time: 2 minutes

Mark says: "They went into Capernaum, and as soon as the Sabbath came, he went into the synagogue and began to teach". In the liturgy we read: "At that time, in the city of Capernaum, on the Sabbath he went into the synagogue to teach". The "as soon as he came" is lost, with the vivid description of Jesus going immediately to the synagogue to teach.

In the ruins of Capernaum, Peter's house, where Jesus may have stayed, is very close to the synagogue. In Mark's "as soon as" (euzús in Greek, sta-tim in Latin) we grasp the temporal sense: without unpacking or getting organized, without resting or refreshing himself after the journey, Jesus goes to the synagogue. We also see this inner "as soon as": it was his desire, his priority. He goes immediately to the synagogue because there are the people to whom he wants to reveal himself progressively.

He has a desire to teach: he reveals himself as a Teacher. He has a desire to speak: he reveals himself as the Word of God. He has the desire to heal the wound of ignorance: he reveals himself as a physician. He wants to carry on his shoulders those sheep that have been left uncared for: he reveals himself as a shepherd. And, in fact, he arouses astonishment. His speech is different from that of the scribes, who recount the fruits of their studies and discuss school matters. He speaks of his life, and of the Father whom he knows like no other, he who is in his bosom, and whom he has come to reveal to us. No one else like him, who is God, can reveal the hidden meaning of the Word of God that is read every Sabbath in the synagogue. He is the principal author of that Word. He will reveal it little by little, so as not to be stoned or thrown from the rocks, although they will try.

People say that he "has authority". Let us imagine that astonishment, so understandable: they have heard the words of the Word of God with the tone of his unique and unmistakable human voice. But all is not well in the life of Jesus. As the people are happy with his preaching, a demon, through the man he possesses, causes confusion: "You are the holy one of God". The demons feel threatened by the presence of Jesus and his word, and become agitated. They believe in him: "You are the holy one of God", and they sense that he has come to "destroy" their kingdom. Jesus says to them: "Shut up!" Come out of this man", and the demon "twisted him violently and, giving a very loud cry, came out of him". Jesus' authority is not only in word, but also in action, which adds surprise to the astonishment of the people. As a consequence, people speak of him throughout Galilee.we too: let us listen to the word of Jesus, open to conversion, and then allow ourselves to be healed and purified by his word and by the efficacious signs of his grace, and then carry his word and his healing everywhere.

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