On Tuesday of this past week we celebrated the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz concentration camp at the end of the second World war in 1945. The brutality of the Nazis regime of Adolf Hitler is starkly illustrated in all of these places, brutality against the weakest of the weak and against the Jewish People. As we think of the Holocaust and the witness of all those who lost their lives in the concentration camps that are now sacred places we must also stop and think of how we relate to one another and to those of other faiths in our modern world Jew, Christian, Muslim Hindu or whatever faith tradition we may be from.
In this Sundays Gospel we hear about the authority of the Lord to cast out demons and devils. The reading is taken from the Gospel of Mark. Jesus begins to teach in Capernaum. The people are spellbound because he spoke with authority, not like the scribes. A man comes to Jesus who is in the hand of an evil power and Jesus makes the devil come out of the man. The bystanders are amazed because Jesus has such authority. What do we mean when we speak about the authority of the Lord? What do we mean when we talk about authority in general? What ways do we exercise authority in relation to those around us? What ways do we exercise the authority of the Lord as Christians?
The word authority comes from the Latin word auctoritas. The basic meaning of this Latin word is creator, the word author also comes from this word. In general, authority is intimately connected with its source that source is the person who gives another the authority to do something so the authority that Jesus has comes from his Father. We share in the authority of the Lord to the extent that we are united to the source of this authority. When we are confirmed we receive the power, the authority, to defeat evil in the world and to lead others to Jesus, the source of all truth. This authority is given to us by God. God can remove this authority and will remove this authority if we refuse to stay intimately united to him. God has entrusted us with his authority only to the extent that we allow him into our lives. As we reflect on the 70th anniversary of the liberation of the Death Camps at the end of the Second World War We pray that the horror of these events will never return. We also pray that all those who exercise authority will do so wisely and for the good of every member of the communities where they live so that everyone can live in peace.