The readings today speak to me about authority and anxiety. In the First Reading from the Book Deuteronomy we find one of the many stories of the Old Testament announcing to the people that God will raise a prophet from their midst in the future, that will speak what God tells him. Moses instructs his followers throughout the ages to listen to this prophet. Now, in hindsight, we know that all these announcements point to Jesus Christ.
Mark’s Gospel today, describing the opening of the teaching ministry, says that Jesus taught as one having authority. Authority comes from the Latin term autocritas, which in its origin refers to rightful ownership of the article in question, according to the French linguist Beneviste. To reinforce the notion of authority we hear the first recorded miracle, of Jesus freeing a possessed man from an unclean spirit. It is interesting to note that the Gospel does not tell us what it is Jesus taught. According to one tradition, this would not be Mark’s fault, but Peter’s fault. It is said that the origin to the earliest of the three Synoptic gospels is Peter dictating his memories to possibly his son. We know Peter was married, because his mother in law is cured from a fever in the very next story in Mark’s Gospel. But he does tell us that he taught different than the scribes. To me this means that he did not repeat what others said, but told the things as he saw them, even if it upset some of the established power (Scribes, Pharisees,
Paul is well aware of the unavoidable struggles and anxieties of his Corinthian community. He wishes them to be free of them as much as possible so as to stay focused on the following of Christ.
A complete text of the readings at: http://www.usccb.org/nab/readings/020109.shtml
With God’s Love and Blessings,
P.S. Read the commentary from one of our friends from our six years living in Germany, pointing to regional differences in Christmas season traditions