Recognizing the Messiah

First Reading: 1 Sm 1:9-20 or 1 Sm 1:1-8
Psalm: 1 Sm 2:1, 4-5, 6-7, 8abcd or Ps 116:12-13, 14-17, 18-19
Gospel: Mk 1:21-28 or Mk 1:14-20

Today’s gospel is for us to recognize the true person of Jesus, and
thereby understand His mission.

Jesus’ teaching astounded the multitude in the synagogue. He taught
with authority. He spoke the word of God as no one had spoken it
before. By His words, He had authority even over demons. No wonder
the crowd reacted with amazement and wonder but not with
recognition. They are amazed by His actions, but they don’t
recognize who He is. They are intrigued by His words, but they do
not know from where the authority comes.

But Jesus was authority incarnate – the Word of God made flesh.
When He spoke, God spoke. When He commanded even the demons obeyed.

However, Jesus was also guarding against the dangerous possibility
that He would be recognized as a political Messiah.
Jesus had to
silence the unclean spirit for proclaiming Him as the Holy One of
God for fear that people would seek Him as a political leader who
would deliver them from the oppressive foreign forces occupying
Palestine. This mistaken view would jeopardize His mission, which
was to inaugurate the kingdom of God. For Jesus, the Kingdom of God
would only become a reality if sinners would repent and convert
themselves to Christ. Undergoing personal conversion to Christ would
allow them to defeat Satan. As Jesus would say, “But if it is by
the Spirit of God that I drive out demons, then the kingdom of God
has come upon you.” (Mt 12: 28).