With Authority and Power
Homily for Tuesday of the Twenty-second Week in Ordinary Time
Each liturgical year we journey through the four Gospels of Saints Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. In Ordinary Time we use the synoptic Gospels; namely, the Gospels of St. Matthew, Mark, and Luke. The word “synoptic” simply means “look alike.” In January we begin with the Gospel of Mark followed by the Gospel of Matthew. In the twenty-second week of Ordinary Time, we come to the Gospel of Luke which we will use until the end of this liturgical year. The Gospel of John is used during the Seasons of Lent and Easter. In this fashion the Church offers us an opportunity to reflect on the entirety of the Good News of Jesus Christ.
In a conversation that I had with Bishop Conlin, he mentioned to me that every time he reads the Gospels, he encounters something new. No matter how many times we read these foundational documents of our faith, if we enter into them with open mind and heart, the Holy Spirit floods us with the spiritual realities of which Jesus spoke. St. Paul realized this and used this argument at the beginning of his First Letter to the Corinthians. Whenever we encounter the Gospel, the Holy Spirit stands ready to break open the Word of God. Though I have been preaching about the Gospel for over forty-seven years, I readily concur with Bishop Conlin, and I ask the Holy Spirit to open my mind and my heart to Jesus, the Word made flesh.
In the Gospel passage for today, St. Luke tells us that the people of Capernaum were amazed, astonished at Jesus who acted and spoke with authority. As members of Christ’s body, baptized into his life and death, we participate in his healing ministry through the power of the Holy Spirit. When we are confronted with human suffering such as Jesus was in the Gospel today, the Holy Spirit can give us the perfect words to comfort and encourage, to share words of love and healing as we reach out to that person. We have been given this authority according to the gifts given us by the Holy Spirit and the circumstances of our lives.
Each and every time that we comfort and encourage someone, Pentecost happens again. Each time we show another person the love that God has for them, the Holy Spirit appears in our midst. Like the disciples gathered in the upper room, the Holy Spirit is poured out upon us for the forgiveness of sins and the reconciliation of people everywhere. God’s amazing power is at our disposal. Let us pray to be open to the promptings of the Holy Spirit so that we can witness to Jesus by word and deed with authority.