Ordinary time “B”: Fourth Sunday

By Fr Wandile M. Dlamini OSM

Theme: Today we pray that we may remain united to the Lord, who is the source of the power and authority we have received.

FIRST READING: Deuteronomy 18:15-20

This reading makes a promise concerning Christ, that there should come a Prophet, great above all the prophets; by whom God would make known himself and his will to the children of men, more fully and clearly than he had ever done before.

He is the light of the world. He is the World by whom God speaks to us.

In his birth he should be one of their nations. In his resurrection he should be raised up in Jerusalem, and from thence his teaching should go forth to the entire world. When this prophet comes there will be no need for another. The view of God which he gives, will not terrify or overwhelm, but encourages us. He speaks with fatherly affection and Divine authority united. Whoever refuses to listen to this prophet shall find it at his peril; the same that is the Prophet is to be his Judge. Woe then to those who refuse to hearken to His voice, to accept His salvation, or yield obedience to His sway! But happy they who trust in Him, and obey Him. He will lead them in the paths of safety and peace. Until He brings them to the land of perfect light, purity, and everlasting happiness.

SECOND READING: 1Cor 7; 32-35

Here Paul is trying to be helpful. He wants to give good advice for hard times. Expecting the end of the world at any moment, as he is telling the people of Corinth to focus on the essentials and to simplify their lives. Paul taught that both marriage and its daily concerns would expire when the present age would come to an end. This put marital struggles and worldly affairs in perspective, since only one’s relationship with the Lord would endure forever. When Paul wrote this letter to the Corinthians his whole outlook was dominated by the fact that he expected the second coming of Christ immediately at any moment.

GOSPEL: Mark 1:21-28

In today’s Gospel reading the sacred writer, the Holy Spirit speaks about the authority of the Lord. This passage is taken from the first chapter of the earliest of the Gospels, the Gospel of Mark. Jesus begins to teach in Capernaum. The people are held spellbound because the Lord spoke with authority, not like the scribes. A man who is in the hand of the power of evil comes before Jesus. Jesus with authority from above rebukes the devil and makes him come out of the man. The bystanders are surprised at this because Jesus has such authority.