Live a while in our very human world and you soon learn that many a promise is broken. So much so that we are amazed when they are kept, especially over a long time. How many hearts have been broken by this very human failure we can only guess. So it is very reassuring and definitely cause for rejoicing to learn from the Bible that God is the exception. He keeps every promise He makes. Admittedly there may be ex-tensive time gaps between promise made and promise kept. But then we also know that God’s ways are not ours. The times described in Deuteronomy, our First Reading today, were long gone when events like those recounted in the Gospels took place.
Deuteronomy captures the day when, speaking through Moses, God guarantees that a prophet very much like Himself will be “raised up for you from among your own kin.” He adds: “And to him you will listen.” This is very much a command added to a promise.
Fast forward to this long ago day at the Capernaum synagogue. At the synagogue service, with its usual ritual begun with prayer, followed by Scripture readings and teaching. Just as Jesus started His teaching, He was rudely interrupted by a foul mouthed demon living in an otherwise innocent man who took on an even more ugly attitude. Jesus hears him out. “What have you to do with us Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us?” Most likely this group of demons knew the answer to their questions, but they wanted confirmation of their conclusion. It must have frightened the little congregation. Jesus doesn’t answer their impertinent questions. Instead He commands them to be “Quiet! Come out of him!” That’s the kind of thing that Moses had described long before coming from the future prophet.
The stupendous power of Jesus, able to cross over to the invisible world of the supernatural, should be a welcome comfort to us. Especially when we can be quite devilish in our inner lives. Christ has kept His promises. All we have to do is keep our own to Him. Allow me to tell, on a much lower level of example, what just might happen to us if we don’t.
Three men died and went to heaven. Upon their arrival, St. Peter asked the first if he had been faithful to his wife. The man admitted to two affairs during his marriage. St. Peter told him that he could receive only a subcompact car to drive in heaven.
Then St. Peter asked the second man if he had been faithful to his wife, and the man admitted to one affair. St. Peter told him that he could have a mid-size car to drive. The third man was asked about his faithfulness, and he told St. Peter he had been true to his wife until the day he died. St. Peter praised him and gave him a luxury car.
A week later the three men were driving around, and they all stopped at a red light. The men in the subcompact and mid-size cars turned to see the man in the luxury car crying. They asked him what could possibly be the matter. After all, he was driving a luxury car. “I just passed my wife,” he told them, “and she was on a skateboard!”\
God love you and give you His peace.
Reading I: Deuteronomy 18: 15-20 The author wants to find a place for prophecy in his country. He describes a true prophet as a native Israelite who is called by Yahweh and continues the prophetic role of Moses.
Reading II: 1 Corinthians 7: 32-35 Paul is addressing newly married couples. We note his view of the equality of men and women. He advises couples but does not impose any solutions.
The Gospel: Mark 1: 21-28 Capernaum is the setting for this last section of Chapter One. Jesus’ “amazing” teaching did not rely on appeals to Scripture or other teachers for verification. The healing He works presages the end of the power of demons.