In today’s Gospel (Mk 1:21-28), Jesus continues in earnest His proclamation of the Kingdom (as St. John Paul so aptly named the Third Luminous Mystery) in the synagogue in the town that was His base of operations, Capernaum. Those in attendance were “astonished at his teaching” because of its authoritativeness. Jesus did not have to appeal to any other teacher, living or dead, as other religious leaders did. He taught on His own authority. As if to add an exclamation mark, Jesus caps off this episode by exorcising a demon with five words, adding to the onlookers amazement.
Kempis writes: “the truth of the Lord remains forever” (1,5). These blog posts have already emphasized Jesus as truth incarnate (see Jn 14:6) and will undoubtedly continue to do so. He is also the Word of God (see Jn 1:1, 14), so when He speaks, He not only refers to Himself in quoting the Hebrew Scriptures, He is relaying to us new Divine Revelation in his exposition of existing Scripture — Jesus is the perfect exegete. This is why we are to pay particular attention when Jesus appeals to the Old Testament regarding His mission. (As an aside, selfishly, I’m disappointed that we don’t have a transcript of His exposition of the Scriptures on the road to Emmaus (see Lk 24:27); but I know that the Holy Spirit, the one who inspired the entire Bible, knows what He’s doing, and needs no advice from me.)
In an age in which truth, for some, has become flexible to the point of breaking or even inverting (see Is 5:20), we should share the astonishment of Jesus’ first hearers in receiving the Truth with open minds and open hearts, living it from moment to moment and sharing it unalloyed with our neighbor.
Exorcism at the Synagogue in Capernaum (eleventh century)
from Stift Lambach in Oberösterreich