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January 12, 2021

He (Jesus) taught them as one having authority and not as the scribes (Mark 1:22).

Jesus had just begun his public ministry, and already people could sense that there was something different about his teaching. For one thing, it differed from that of the Scribes. They contented themselves with repeating the teaching of others who had come before them, especially rabbis who had become known by reason of their wisdom and ability to interpret the Scriptures.

Jesus, however, taught with authority. That is, he himself was the authority. Jesus tried to go to the heart of the Scriptures. Who can forget that series of statements in Matthew’s Gospel where Jesus says, “You have heard it said… but I say.” Besides situations like these, it is also true that Jesus’ teaching made sense. It did not simply rely on “the traditions of the ancestors,” but on a fresh interpretation of what God wanted from his people. It brought life!

We can all remember that special teacher who said or did something that impacted our lives at a particular point, and we can fondly look back and see the difference it has made in our lives. Perhaps you have been that person for others, giving an encouraging word, gently nudging the reluctant student, or showing mercy when justice seemed to cry out for a different answer. This is what makes it hard for some to accept the teaching of Pope Francis, who tends to stress mercy.

That same mercy is extended to us at every Mass. Jesus comes to us not because we are worthy, but because we are needy. That is the same attitude and approach that should characterize our teaching. There are so many these days looking for insights into life’s meaning. Can we provide that light?

Let Us Pray:

O gracious Jesus, grant me the ability to teach as you did: with authority. Not because of my own wisdom, but because I am open to the promptings of your Holy Spirit. May I always be a source of life for others.

 

Daily Eucharistic Reflection – Center for Eucharistic Evangelizing (eucharisticevangelizing.com)
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About Paul J. Bernier, SSS

Blessed Sacrament Father Paul J. Bernier served for many years as the editor of Emmanuel. He is a popular writer, preacher, and director of retreats. Among his many published works is Ministry in the Church: A Historical and Pastoral Approach, Second Edition, published by Orbis Books in 2015.