4th Sunday in Ordinary Time - B
After the calling of the first apostles, now St. Mark presents Jesus’ first preaching and the first miracle in his gospel. This all happened in the synagogue in Capernaum. The temple in Jerusalem was the only temple where the high priest would offer worship, sacrifice and atonement while the synagogues were used to proclaim the Torah or the Old Testament scriptures by the people. Since there was no permanent teacher in the synagogue, the reading and exposition of the scriptures can be done by any competent Jew just like what Jesus did in our gospel today.
Jesus preached with authority! This is how Jesus differed with the other prophets before Him and the Pharisees and scribes. While the others were quoting the scriptures from which they got their authority to teach, Jesus was the Dabar Yahweh, the Word personified. The Word spoken by God to create everything in Genesis is now the living Word re-creating creation. This was manifested by the first miracle ever recorded in the gospel of St. Mark in the exorcism of the man with an unclean spirit. By saying the name of Jesus, the evil spirit thought he had control over Him, but the word of Jesus proved to be more powerful. This is more than just exorcism! Here we can see the power of the Word Incarnate: “Be quiet! Come out of him!” That is why those who saw the miracle were amazed about the unusual authority of Jesus.
The Devil is as real as it was in the time of Adam and Eve, the time of Jesus and in our own time as well. It continues to pester humanity in the many disguised forms of injustice, genocides, wars, poverty, oppression, etc. It creeps its tentacles in the very fiber of our personal existence which manifest in our sin expressed in addictions, hatred, indifference and our refusal to follow the way of righteousness. We have to be always alert because “the devil prowls like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8).
The Evil One continues to triumph not just when bad people sow bad deeds but most especially when good people stop doing good. God empowers us in defeating the devil through the inherent goodness in us. Every time we do something good, God shines through us and the devil shrinks deep within his dark realm.
Certainly the devil is more powerful than us but the good news is that we have our God who is more powerful than the devil.