AUGUST 31. Ord Time B. Wk 22. Tue. Lk 4. 31-37
Jesus went down to Capernaum, a town in Galilee, and taught them on the sabbath. And his teaching made a deep impression on them because he spoke with authority.
In the synagogue there was a man who was possessed by the spirit of an unclean devil, and it shouted at the top of its voice, ‘Ha! What do you want with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are: the Holy One of God.’ But Jesus said sharply, ‘Be quiet! Come out of him!’ And the devil, throwing the man down in front of everyone, went out of him without hurting him at all. Astonishment seized them and they were all saying to one another, ‘What teaching! He gives orders to unclean spirits with authority and power and they come out.’ And reports of him went all through the surrounding countryside.
In yesterdays reading Jesus was expelled from his own town of Nazareth because the people amongst whom he had lived all his life refused to acknowledge him as the Redeemer, so he left there and went to Capernaum, a nearby town in Galilee.
The reception here was different and we are told he taught them on the sabbath; - “and his teachings made a deep impression on them, because he spoke with authority!” So, his own town refused to believe him; - and wanted to kill him; - while the people of Capernaum were impressed with his teachings?
Christ would not perform any miracles for the people of Nazareth because they refused to believe he was the Son of God; - but this was not the case in Capernaum and so; - because of their faith; - he went on and performed a miracle to demonstrate and prove his teachings were from God.
There was a man there who was “possessed by the spirit of an unclean devil,” and Christ saw his possession by Satan as a way of allowing the people of Capernaum to be provided with evidence of his divinity.
It is interesting to note the words used by the devil when he shouted at Jesus; - “What do you want with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are: the Holy One of God”; - so in front of the crowd, we find Satan is the one confirming Jesus was the Son of God!
And Christ responded with a command; - “Be quiet! Come out of him” after which; - “the devil, throwing the man down in front of everyone; - went out of him without hurting him at all”; - leaving the people astonished!
The impact on those watching these events is then recorded; - “What teaching! He gives orders to unclean spirits with authority and power and they come out.” – The reason Christ performed miracles such as this was then recorded; - “And reports of him went all through the surrounding countryside,” being the way the Faith was passed on from one generation to another!
But is this sad situation not being repeated still today? - where a large number of people accept the teachings of Christ (the people of Capernaum); - while another large number of people (the people of Nazareth) refuse to believe; - preferring to follow human wisdom; - (the values of the world) - rather than the teachings of Jesus Christ, the Son of God?
Gospel Acclamation Lk7:16
A great prophet has appeared among us;
God has visited his people.
First reading 1 Thessalonians 5:1-6,9-11 · Keep strengthening one another
You will not be expecting us to write anything to you, brothers, about ‘times and seasons’, since you know very well that the Day of the Lord is going to come like a thief in the night. It is when people are saying, ‘How quiet and peaceful it is’ that the worst suddenly happens, as suddenly as labour pains come on a pregnant woman; and there will be no way for anybody to evade it.
But it is not as if you live in the dark, my brothers, for that Day to overtake you like a thief. No, you are all sons of light and sons of the day: we do not belong to the night or to darkness, so we should not go on sleeping, as everyone else does, but stay wide awake and sober. God never meant us to experience the Retribution, but to win salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us so that, alive or dead, we should still live united to him. So give encouragement to each other, and keep strengthening one another, as you do already.