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Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time [B]

By: John Bucki, S.J.

Deuteronomy 18:15-20
1 Corinthians 7:32-35
Mark 1:21-28

January 30 í¢â‚¬" February 5: Catholic Schools Week
January 31: Islamic New Year
February 2: Feast of the Presentation (Candlemas)

The joys and hopes, the grief and anguish of the people of our time, especially of those who are poor or afflicted, are the joys and hopes, the grief and anguish of the followers of Christ as well. Nothing that is genuinely human fails to find an echo in their hearts. For theirs is a community of people united in Christ and guided by the Holy Spirit in their pilgrimage towards the Father's kingdom, bearers of a message of salvation for all of humanity. That is why they cherish a feeling of deep solidarity with the human race and its history.
The Second Vatican Council, Gaudium et Spes

Action on behalf of justice and participation in the transformation of the world fully appear to us as a constitutive dimension of the preaching of the Gospel, or, in other words, of the Church's mission for the redemption of the human race and its liberation from every oppressive situation.
Bishops' Synod, Justice in the World

Thoughts for Your Consideration
Jesus is described as one who teaches and speaks "with authority."

Jesus is one who can even command evil spirits to depart.

Jesus comes with a clear vision and the courage to speak clearly and boldly.

Such characteristics are essential for any contemporary prophet who will speak to the world a message of justice and peace. Such characteristics are essential if we are to apply effectively the social teaching of the church to our contemporary world.

The clarity of our vision and how it applies to the world develops out of a real understanding of the situation of the world and its people. Our church must be connected with the lives of real people, especially those who are struggling or in need or economically poor. Otherwise, we cannot be prophetic and speak with authority.

The power of our preaching must come out of a deep faith in a God who calls us to work for justice, to ask questions and to speak up. Without the faith that calls us to ask questions, we cannot be prophetic and speak with authority.

In a certain sense, the power of our preaching and actions can perform an "exorcism" on the world, driving out the evil spirits of injustice, poverty, violence, and selfishness and inviting in the good spirits of justice, peace, community and economic well-being for all.

Questions for Reflection in your Faith Sharing Group
When have you experienced someone who "taught with authority?"

How did this impact you?

Did this person have a "social í¢â‚¬" ethical message" that made a difference?

Actions - Links
Catholic Bishops Call for "Responsible Transition" in Iraq ; Urge "Serious Civil Dialogue":

NETWORK, a Catholic Social Justice Lobby, asks members to Lobby Congress for Peace in Iraq:

Survey Finds Americans Fear Poverty Will Get Worse í¢â‚¬" Possibly Trapping Them as Individuals í¢â‚¬" and Want it Decreased or Eliminated Entirely:

Reports and highlights from "The Prophetic Presence of Women Religious - Commemorating the 25th Anniversary and Legacy of the Four U.S. Churchwomen Martyred in El Salvador":

Pax Christi USA calls for release of Haitian priest suffering from leukemia and urges investigation into the fractured and corrupt judicial system in Haiti:

Prayer í¢â‚¬" Meditation
Mother -- Father God: Help us to hear the word and put it into practice.
Let us hear again the challenge of the great prophets.
Let us do what is right and love with enthusiasm.

Sophia í¢â‚¬" Wisdom: Help us to hear the word and put it into practice.
Help us to discern the way of peace.
Help us to discern the way of right action.

God of heaven and earth: Help us to hear the word and put it into practice.
Let us hear again the stories of our ancestors in faith.
Let us create new stories today í¢â‚¬" stories of faith in action.

God of peace and justice: Help us to hear the word and put it into practice.
Help us to listen to the world and the cries of those in need.
Help us to respond in solidarity with all those in need.

Holy Spirit: Help us to hear the word and put it into practice.
Fill us with an enthusiasm and joy for what is right and good.
Fill us with virtue that we might do what is good for all.

Type of content: Lectionary Reflections