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Scripture Reflection - January 28, 2018

Deuteronomy 18:15-20                Psalm 95:1-2, 6-9 1 Corinthians 7: 32-35                  Mark 1:21-28

“What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth? This is the startling question posed in today’s Gospel. It is a question raised by a person possessed by an unclean spirit, not by those who came to hear Jesus teaching in Capernaum’s synagogue. This question was certainly not in the minds of those who were astonished at the authority by which Jesus taught. Why did this possessed soul have more insight into Jesus’ message and who Jesus truly was than all the others! Perhaps it was all about recognition and fear of the unclean spirit; recognition that Jesus was more than a scribe, teacher or prophet; He was the Messiah. And in that recognition, fear of Jesus’ power to expose, exhort and expel unclean spirits who would challenge Him. Mark’s Gospel indicates that just before Jesus’ presence in the synagogue he was calling forth his first disciples. Jesus knew those listening to his instruction were not ready to fully understand the power of the “Holy One of God” or commit to being disciples. The call to discipleship was and is a process and a repeated invitation. Every time they heard Jesus, their desire and readiness grew stronger, but Jesus knew it was not the time to fully reveal their role in the mission.

And for us, how does this question resonate? Are we in a state of readiness to answer: “what have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth?” At some point on our journey, we knew the answer was “EVERYTHING.” We also know the invitation to discipleship is ongoing, and as in the process of truly understanding, it is revealed along the way. So “if today you hear His voice, harden not your hearts.” Paul reminds us to keep our priorities straight and avoid distractions that keep us from attending to what truly is most needed for our world today. By the grace of God, we can dispel that which prevents us from being faithful to the mission of the Gospel. We have been called to know the “Holy One of God” and embrace the world through our discipleship.

Sister Joan Agro, O.P.

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