Even if you must endure loud movie trailers to learn it, all of the so-called “Superheroes” in the movie world use flash and bang against their enemies. This comes after all the spoken warnings to behave better are ignored. So, we see bolts of lightning and hear ear-piercing noise as the evil figures are either vaporized or otherwise dismissed from the scene. Of course, we innocent viewers know that all this ammunition lends authority to the “good guys” when they speak. It’s that authority I choose to focus on in another context.

Twenty plus centuries ago, we Christians believed that a Person with truly omnipotent ability strode this earth with the name “Jesus of Nazareth.” He never exercised His power in a noisy burst of electricity. Instead, as when He calmed the raging sea in a wicked storm, or when He gave an evil spirit the order to leave a possessed person, He simply spoke a simple command. Naturally His voice would be raised over the roiling waters so that the frightened fishermen in the boat would hear Him. But usually, He used a calm command.

These two examples, among many others recounted in the Bible, were the bases for His authority when He taught. As we are told, He “amazed” everybody. So much so that they asked each other” “What is this? A new teaching with authority?

Right at this junction a penetrating question for our confused times arises: “Do we dare question Christ’s authority?” “Doubt His teaching on any number of subjects just because they are not fashionable right now?” “Ignore the interpretation given to them by the Church He founded and which He promised to abide by?” Those questions we must ask ourselves because all around us are people whom we might otherwise consider “nice” but who have decided to answer “Yes.” Two thousand plus years ago people called “pagans” couldn’t or wouldn’t agree with Jesus. Today’s contemporary atheists make the same response.

It is a good and healthy exercise for our spiritual well-being to reflect on today’s Gospel passage to note how quickly evil spirits had to flee in obedience to Christ’s command. This is our solace when temptations of all kinds come to haunt us.

Meanwhile, we can add in how Christ works His authoritative message into our world. St. Teresa of Avila gives us the answer:

“Christ has no body on earth but yours; No hands but yours; No feet but yours; Yours are the eyes through which He is to look out Christ’s compassion to the world; Yours are the feet with which He is to go about doing good; Yours the hands with which He is to bless now.”

God love you and give you His peace.