Jesus’ teaching, preaching, and healing were shocking to his contemporaries. They were amazed and astonished at what he said, and his miracles and healings further demonstrated the truth and power of his words. In his Gospel, Mark describes an event that occurred on the Sabbath, as Jesus entered the synagogue and taught the People of God, and cast out demons from a man possessed by an unclean spirit.
“The people were astonished at his teaching, for he taught them as one having authority and not as the scribes. All were amazed and asked one another, ‘What is this? A new teaching with authority. He commands even the unclean spirits and they obey him.’” (NAB, MK 1:22, 27) Are we astonished by his teaching today? Do we see that his words are life-changing? Do we defer and recognize his authority in teaching us his New Commandment of Love? Do we allow Jesus to free us from our demons and to protect us from our enemy, the evil one, Satan? Do we believe the He has the power to do so?
Lord, your teaching still astonishes and shocks the world today, because your Gospel of Love is counter to the prideful, selfish, and “me-centered” society I live in. Help me to trust in your authority and believe in your teachings. Give me the grace and strength I need to abandon myself to you, knowing that you who are supreme, all-powerful, and all-loving, will rescue me when I am lost, heal me when I am broken, forgive me when I am sorrowful, and protect me when I am tempted by the evil of this world. Amen.