Tuesday of the 1st Week of the Year

Mk 1:21-28

The Cure of a Demoniac


It was so easy for the people in the synagogue to perceive what kind of teacher Jesus was. They were astounded at the manner that he taught them, speaking to them as one having authority, unlike the scribes. When they witnessed how Jesus expelled the demon from the possessed person, they were left “oohing and aahing” with amazement and kept asking each other, “What is this? A new teaching with authority!”

This was the kind of authority Jesus eventually would leave impressed in the mind of his hearers. This drew many to follow him. To his townsfolk, however, who knew him and his family too well, he was simply incredible to be true. ‘Where did he get all this?” they asked.

Jesus need not quote experts to render credibility to everything he said. People simply were awed at his eloquence and self-confidence. Neither did he need legally vested power to rule, coerce or control the crowds’ allegiance. Yet in spite of the full knowledge of his divine sonship, he chose humility. He chose to be just himself.

Outstanding, however, in Jesus’ brand of authority was his personal conviction that flows out of self-awareness and self-love. Jesus was one of the most confident people who ever lived. He never had any ambivalence about who he was or what he was sent to do. He was unblinking in his principles despite the adversaries and stereotyping of his days. He was confident to call a spade a spade. He gave clear signals and direction to his followers and never had he fluctuated back and forth on his beliefs and decisions. He spoke with personal conviction. His I AM statements are sure proofs to this.

A person has to believe in himself first before he can be unbelievable to others. Jesus knew and believed in himself well. His self-mastery spell strength and authority. (Fr. Nielo Cantilado, SVD Bible Diary 2004)


The last time I experienced evil possession was recently. There was this boy from a far away village who just lost his mother. The lola offered the boy to work at the convent; in return, I should sponsor his schooling as grade six pupil. The boy was smart in his own way. He easily made friends and went about with confidence. But even early enough, he seemed not to be able to follow simple routine activities like eating at set times and consistently doing his assigned tasks in the house. It was hard to communicate with him, for he spoke so softly, if ever he chose to speak. I had several talks with him, telling him and reminding him what was expected of him; that he should make himself clear when he spoke; that he should let us know what he wanted and needed. One morning, he decided not to go to school, and at breakfast he was missing again. When I saw him, I gave him a dressing down. While scolding him, I knew I should not get angry. But I was not in possession of myself anymore. I even threatened to return him where he came. Compassion, understanding, gentleness and patience which I nurtured for long years and preached for more than twenty five years disappeared from my heart. Evil had possessed me that morning.

I believe that the devil usually works where we think we are good at. Judas was good in keeping money; there evil entered him. Leaders in politics and even in the church succumb to the temptation of powerplay. When I cannot control my anger, my bad habits and sins, then I need deliverance. I need Jesus’ words, “Watch and pray.” I need him too send me the Spirit that will lead me to the freedom of the children of God. (Fr. Atilano, Corcuera, SVD Bible Diary 2005)


A Slav proverb says: “If you wish to know what a man is, place him in authority.”

Jesus taught as one having authority! This gospel insists twice that Jesus was teaching with an authority never seen before. Evil the evil spirits acknowledged his authority: “What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are – the Holy One of God!” Jesus truly spoke with full authority because it was given to Him by his Father. “For I have not spoken on my own authority,” Jesus says in John 12. “But He who sent me, the Father, has commanded me what I should say.”

Jesus did not preach Himself, neither did He transmit a message forged by human wisdom, but he preached with such a coherence between his words and his life. The authority of Jesus laid bare the credibility of his being. There was power in Jesus’ words.

It was at Puebla, ten years after Medellin, that the Latin American cardinals and bishops met again. One of them Dom Helder Camara said: “Medellin produced beautiful statements, an excellent analysis and very good recommendations, but,” he added, “nothing really happened. The church is still with the rich, in order to be able to help the poor who are poor because of those rich!” no evil spirit had been chased away. Everything remained the same or worse than ever before.

Jesus forced his will against the evil spirits: “Quiet! Come out of him!” and immediately, the man was healed. What a power! What authority! We need that power, we need that authority in fighting temptations, trials, poverty, evil! We can have that only if we have Jesus with us, if Jesus lives in our hearts. (Fr. Nilo Healan, SVD Bible Diary 2006)


By common acceptance five great religions are generally considered as “World Religions” – Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Hinduism and Buddhism. They are called so, because of their tremendous impact on humanity. It is an accepted fact too that these religions have given to the world great doctrinal, moral and social teachings. Their founders all claimed that they had been sent by God as enlightened teachers, guru or prophet, for the moral upliftment or rehabilitation of their people. However, a deeper and more painstaking look into the identity of their founders reveals something striking. Only one of them claims that he comes from God and that he is God, Jesus Christ.

In today’s gospel, Jesus astonished the people by his teaching, “as one having authority”. In John 15:15, Jesus says, “I have called you friends, since I have made known to you everything I learned from my Father.” In what way did he require those teachings, we may ask? In John 17:4, we learn that the source of His teaching is the person of the Father Himself: “Now, Father, give me in your presence the same glory I had with you before the world existed.” In john 16:28, Jesus says it more plainly, “As I came from the Father and have come into the world, so I am leaving the world and going to the Father.”

One sees, too, the doctrinal superiority of his teachings, e.g. the so-called “Beatitudes” 9matt 5:1ff) or about love of enemies 9matt 5:3ff). They’re paradoxical and seemingly contradictory, so hard to accept. And yet these teachings deal with what is really true and what really matters in life. In today’s gospel, Jesus further confirms his identity through the exercise of his divine powers by driving the unclean spirit away.

Jesus the Messiah sent by and from the Father, the God-made-man, is our Great Guru who leads the way and journeys with us all the way. (Fr. Erasio Flores, SVD Bible Diary 2007)


I remember the visit of Mother Teresa of Calcutta to Divine Word Seminary in Tagaytay. My eyes were automatically drawn to her and she captivated us with a very simple message: God loves you.

What does “teaching with authority” mean? I believe Mother Teresa that day showed us. She leads by example. Her demeanor, her simplicity in both her habit and words proclaimed her belief. She moved about slowly but always with dignity. She spoke softly but with sincerity. Through her actions and words, she earned our trust. She showed she really cared by being aware of what is going around her. She somehow managed to look at me in the eye and you know right away she truly cares. We had, at that moment, a taste of someone “teaching with authority.”

But we are not Mother Teresa, and will never be. But if we truly believe in Jesus present inside of us, we begin to trust in the implicit power of faith. Believe that you are empowered to make the world a better place. Mother Teresa did not use big and complicated words. She allowed her heart to speak and let her faith shine through her words. All Christians can speak with the authority and inspiration of Jesus (Fr. Boboy Jimenez, SVD Bible Dairy 2012).


January 12, 2016 Tuesday

At one community discussion called by the village chief back in Africa eighteen years ago, I was seated beside an old bearded man. I noticed he was listening intently to one of the speakers representing the government, a middle-aged, well-dressed man. After ten minutes or so, he raised his hands, asked permission from the moderator and in Setswana (local language) said: “Sir, I don’t mean to be rude but you have been talking so long, say something please!” Instantly, I thought of the saying, “Say what you mean and mean what you say”.

In the first reading, we met Hannah, a woman who practically spent her married life in the Lord’s Temple praying. The priest Eli having noticed her rather long extended prayers admonished her harshly. Hannah’s response “I was only pouring out my troubles to the Lord”, was an admission that too much talking to the Lord is super uous and that few words from the heart are all that matter. This merited her favor from the priest and most importantly the granting of a male child by God. Hannah’s story shows how ‘meant’ prayers are rewarded.

Jesus demonstrated in the Gospel how even with few words he could make miracles happen so that his amazed and mystified listeners would exclaim, “What does this mean? A completely new teaching in a spirit of authority!” All he did was to ‘say what he meant and mean what he said’, and this made all the difference in his talking and in his preaching. (Fr. Emil Pati, SVD | San Fernando, La Union Bible Diary 2016)

Source: rveritas-asia.org/index.php/daily-reflection/402-january-12-2016-tuesday


In one short paragraph, Jesus astonished the people around Him for two big reasons. First, they were astonished by His preaching. Second, they were astonished by His healing.

Why were they astonished by His preaching? Because He only spoke the truth. Truth has its own power. It does not need any sugar coating. It does not need any techniques. When truth is delivered as truth, it always carries a liberating power. When we don’t get people astonished by what we say, could it be because we speak out of fear or speak because we are seeking favors. Truth is not afraid and truth does not seek favors. Truth is truth and that is its own value.

The second reason why people were astonished at Jesus is that He healed. He healed because He had compassion. He healed because He had love. He was love made flesh. People got astonished because he was willing to go all the way in order to heal that man with an unclean spirit.

Those are the two reasons why people got astonished with Jesus. He spoke the truth and he lived love. Truth and love, when they go together, have infinite power. Truth and love, when they go together, can liberate so many people. But the first to be liberated, when truth and love go together, is ourselves. (Socrates Villegas, Love Like Jesus, p. 192)


Tuesday of the 1st Week in Ordinary Time (Year C) – Marcos 1:21-28. Unsa man nga matang sa pag-ila kang Cristo ang anaa kanato? Atong bantayan nga diha sa ebanghelyo bisan ang yawa miila sa awtoridad ni Cristo. “Nakaila ako nga ikaw mao ang Balaang Sinugo sa Dios”, ang yawa miingon. Pero, atong masabtan nga kining pag-ila sa yawa kang Cristo giubanan dili sa pagtoo kondili sa kahadlok. Nasayod ang yawa nga si Cristo adunay gahum sa pagpahawa kaniya, apan wala kini magtinguha sa pagsunod Kaniya. Ang pag-ila diay sa pagka-Dios ni Cristo dili garantiya nga maghimo sa tawo nga tinood nga sumusunod. Mag-ampo kita nga ang atong kahibalo ug pag-ila kang Cristo magdala kanato sa tinood nga pagtoo ug maghimo kanatong masaligon sa iyang makanunayong gugma ug pag-amoma. (Fr. Abet Uy)



Reflection for January 13 Tuesday of the First Week; Mark 1:21-28 Reflection: What are the modern day unclean/evil spirits that could possess us now? It’s our greed, our lack of concern for others, our arrogance, our lustful desires and so forth. Who can defeat these evil spirits that enslaves us? It’s our faith in Jesus! But the big question is do we still have faith in Jesus? Do we always communicate with Jesus through our prayers? Do we thirst for Jesus by always desiring to partake of His body at Holy Mass?

Evil/unclean spirit has no chance to possess us when we are always in union with Jesus. Those who are possessed by evil spirits are those who distance themselves from Jesus. Just try to always get connected with Jesus and you will see that you will always be shielded from the possession of the evil one.

In our gospel for today, Jesus powerfully told the evil spirit that possessed the man to come out of him. And the evil spirit had no choice but to obey the authoritative command of Jesus. Why? Because Jesus has power and authority over anything including the many modern day evils that controls us!

But come to think of it, why was the man in our gospel for today possessed by an unclean spirit? Why was he among the many people in the synagogue? He was lacking in faith in Jesus otherwise he would have not been possessed.

Let us always strive to always get in touch with Jesus for He is always there for us. By doing so we free ourselves from the possession of the devil and the many modern day evils that lurks around us today.

Do you always create time to prayerfully reach out to Jesus? – Marino J. Dasmarinas



Tuesday, January 12

First week in the Ordinary time

1sam 1: 9-20; Mk 1: 21-28

Soft Power

Shashi Tharoor, former Indian Minister of State for Human Resource Development, in one of his articles speaks about the Soft Power of India. He is of the view that instead of spending huge amount of our resources every year for building up the military power, India has to focus more on developing its soft power: its economy, its unique cultural heritage, its natural resources, its indigenous systems of medicine etc. He also gives examples of countries that have focused on developing their soft power like Sweden, Norway, Switzerland and Japan.

Today’s Gospel speaks about Jesus’ authority. I find a lot of connection between the kind of authority Jesus possessed and the concept of soft power about which Sashi Tharoor speaks. We read in the Gospel, “the people who heard him were amazed at the way he taught, for he wasn’t like the teachers of the Law, instead he taught with authority.”  Again after Jesus cured a man with an evil spirit people exclaimed, “This man has authority to give orders to the evil spirits, and they obey him.” Nobody had given Jesus any authority because he was not in any position of power as far as we understand from the Gospels. He was not one among the Scribes and Pharisees, the religious leaders of the Jews. Against this background we may naturally ask the question what was the source of his authority. The source of Jesus’ authority was his “soft power”- his integrity and authenticity, his depth of knowledge, his excellent communication skill and above all his connectivity with God, the source of all power, through personal prayer and reflection.

A person who has developed his/her soft power will not be crazy after “hard power”, the power to reward and punish. Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Mother Theresa were persons with enormous soft power. In the present time Aug San Suki, the pro democracy leader of Myanmar is an excellent example of soft power.  Sometimes persons with “soft power” are given the “hard power” to shoulder greater responsibilities, as it happened in the case of Nelson Mandela. We also come across persons with soft power in our own surroundings. The persons who have not developed their “soft power”, very often fail in making the proper use of “hard power”. Sometime they may misuse and abuse the “hard power”, leading to great damage to the family or community or society.  It is highly risky and dangerous to entrust hard power to those who have not developed their soft power. They may either misuse it or they may be manipulated by the vested interest groups that play the role of “king makers”.

Following the example of Jesus let us focus on developing our soft power through our personal integrity, deepening knowledge, developing the God given talents and connecting ourselves with God through personal prayer and reflection. Fr. Jacob Peenickaparambil CMI

Source: navchetana.com/web/homilies.php?date=2016-01-12


January 12, 2016

REFLECTION: It was believed throughout the centuries preceding the time of Jesus that Moses (who lived some 12 centuries before Jesus) had left, aside from the Ten Commandments and his other teachings enshrined in the Torah (most of our modern Pentateuch), a body of oral teachings which were transmitted uninterruptedly from gene­ration of rabbis to generation of rabbis and which had the same binding autho­rity as the written Torah. Consequently, most of the teaching of the rabbis consisted in quoting authorities of the past. For example, a scribe would say: “Well, according to Rabbi Meir, who received this from his teacher Rabbi Solomon…”

But when Jesus comes on the scene, he teaches on his own autho­rity: “You have heard it said… but I say to you” (Mt 5:21, 27, 31, 33-34, 38, 43). He cuts through all human traditions (Mt 15:1-30) and proposes his message in simple, direct terms that anybody can understand. How ­refreshing he sounds when compared to the “doublespeak” of our politicians, demagogues and televangelists! And eventually he backed his words with the cost of his life. He practiced what he preached and was in all things “as simple as a dove” (Mt 10:16). Are we his disciples also in this simplicity?


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See Today’s Readings:  Year I,   Year II

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