Homily for Fourth Sunday in ordinary time B

Moses spoke to the people , saying, the Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you, from your brethren as you desired (Deut. 18:15). The people probably observed that Moses was growing old, and that he may soon join their ancestors. So, they desired another prophet like Moses; in fact, they prayed for it at Horeb, and the Lord promised to grant their request.

There was no way the people would have prayed for another prophet like Moses if they had not seen something wonderful in him, if they had not seen the manifestations of God’ power and glory in his life. What they saw in him challenged their lives, it inspired them and made them cry to God for continuity. Joshua took over from Moses, and God was with him the way he was with Moses. But at the fullness of time, God raised a greater “prophet” to shepherd his people. He came down himself in Christ Jesus to shepherd his people.

Jesus came to Capernaum and entered the synagogue on the Sabbath, he taught with authority that astonished the people. His teaching was different from those of the Scribes and Pharisees, and even the demons noticed the difference and cried out, What have you to do with us Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are, you are the Holy One of God. Jesus exercised his authority by ordering the demon to be quite and come out, and the demon obeyed.

When the scribes and the Pharisees taught the people in the synagogues, the people did not feel the power of God’s presence, they did not feel that authority in their voice. The Scribes and Pharisees quoted the prophets as authority, they referred to the prophet’s personal experience of God. They talked about other people’s experience of God and not their own experience. They saw the prophets as people that were very close to God, but not they themselves; for they were far from God. But Jesus was different, he taught with authority that is his. He taught about the God he knows and not the God some other persons told him about. He talked about the God he has seen and touched, about the authority he was convinced of. Not like the Scribes, they talked about other people’s experience of God. If we do not know God personally, we cannot talk with authority.

As believers in Christ Jesus we have authority; believers authority, authority to bind and to lose. The scribes and the Pharisees allowed their God-given authority to be silenced by pride as Jesus said; They bind heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on men’s shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with their fingers. They do all their deeds to be seen by men; for they make their phylacteries broad and their fringes long, and they love the place of honor at feasts and the best seats in the synagogues, and salutation in the market places, and being called Rabbi by men (Mt. 23:4-7).

There are so many things in our world that can silence within us the authority we have in Jesus Christ, and one of the most dangerous is fear. Many Christians are afraid to exercise the believer’s authority, they are afraid to challenge evil probably because they feel they are not worthy. But, who is worthy? Of cause, no body. But we are justified by faith in Christ Jesus. We stand on the power of that justification that comes not by power and might, but by the power and mercy God.

The demon recognized the authority of Jesus Christ, and he bowed to it. Jesus ordered demon to “be quite and come out of him.” The words of Jesus; “be quite,” is a very strong one. To be quiet means to rest, peaceful and calm. When the sea was troubled, Jesus commanded it to be calm, and it became calm. What are the challenges before you? The Lord can speak calmness into you, he only need to say the word and you will be healed just as the man with the evil spirit was healed.

This authority is ours as believers, it is called the believer’s authority. As Christians we must learn to stand on this authority to confront, challenge and defeat the devil. God has given us power over the works of darkness. So, as we celebrate this Sunday, let us ask God to renew his power and authority in us through Christ our Lord. Amen!

 

Rev. Fr. Joel Okojie OSA

Joel Okojie is an ordained Catholic Priest in the Order of St. Augustine. He has been a Priest for over a decade. He served as pastor in two different parishes, he was one time Novice Master and a member of the Provincial Council of the province of St. Augustine of Nigeria, and he is currently on a mission in response to the needs of the Church in Canada.

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