Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Epiphany 4B

Mark 1:21-28

21They went to Capernaum; and when the sabbath came, he entered the synagogue and taught. 22They were astounded at his teaching, for he taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes.

23Just then there was in their synagogue a man with an unclean spirit, 24and he cried out, "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." 25But Jesus rebuked him, saying, "Be silent, and come out of him!" 26And the unclean spirit, convulsing him and crying with a loud voice, came out of him. 27They were all amazed, and they kept on asking one another, "What is this? A new teaching—with authority! He commands even the unclean spirits, and they obey him." 28At once his fame began to spread throughout the surrounding region of Galilee.

We're still in the liturgical season of Epiphany and counting Sundays according to the Feast of Epiphany that's 06 January every year (we celebrated on the closest Sunday 07 January). Epiphany especially reveals Jesus as light for all people and all creation everywhere—not only for ethnic, religious, and geographical people like him! Scripture readings bring us images of light and also a series of call stories that remind us of God's call to everyone to live as light to the world. During this entire year of grace that opened with the First Sunday of Advent on the first Sunday of December (Sunday closest to St. Andrew's Day on 30 November), our gospel readings mostly come from Mark's Gospel; today we hear about Jesus' first act of public ministry. He's in the synagogue after calling Simon (Peter), Andrew, James and John, which happened after John the Baptist baptized Jesus in the River Jordan. We find a contrast between the Holy Spirit of God and an Unclean Spirit Jesus casts out of the guy in the synagogue. Countless interpretations of the unclean spirit have been suggested and insisted upon.

I mentioned how each of the four gospels brings us different stories and a different overall view of Jesus—even the synoptic gospel Matthew, Mark, and Luke with their basic "one eye" overview also have marked distinctions. Our major discussion for Epiphany 4 was what each of us would choose for our gospel account: particular stories, parables, events? Since I sprung the idea and hadn't even considered my own response, I plan to talk more about it on Epiphany 5.

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