Who do we trust and follow? Whose words and examples direct our minds to Jesus the word of God the authority of the Father? Moses was the prophet for his time and for the needs of his people. Who are the Moses-like prophets for this time for us and our needs?
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. As 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. The prophets of today include the bishop of Rome who wrote of the pain in the world and what we should do about it. He insists his fellow bishops and priests and religious are to have the “smell of the sheep on them.” In his encyclical, Laudatio Si, he speaks of the poor and the marginalized. He insists God, the creator of everything, weeps over the devastation of the earth by the self-interest of the powerful and the wealthy. Every good farmer understands the soil must be cared for. But more to the point; God’s love for everyone is declared to us in the scriptures. God speaks with us there. The message is clear: If we are God’s we are to care about and for each other and that includes the refugees, the abused, the poor, the ill, and the mentally challenged. It means Everyone everywhere !
Jesus, speaks for God through his divine nature. His entire public life was about compassion and mercy. He despised arrogance, fought hypocrisy, and he believed the heart was stronger than the law. He brought God’s mercy and compassion to the earth and in the process brought us forgiveness from our self-interest, our scapegoating, our manipulation of frayed emotions, and our insecurity in the face of diversity of language, race, nationality origin, or whatever . May we all be the prophets that we are called to be in our time ! We are truly prophets when we stand for the truth, for the marginalized, for the alien, for the victim of war, for the victims of capitalism that serves only the capitalist. Are we going to ignore the calling of Jesus to be prophets in our own place or will we step up and be the prophets of god for our own time here and now.