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Vol: 45, No.12 4TH SUNDAY OF ORDINARY TIME ( B) January 28 2018  
The need to know the will of God on specific occasions, such as in time of war, was keenly felt in ancient times, and the nations around Israel had devised various magical procedures for finding it out. According to them, magic could be used to discern future events. But the bible never permits giving heed to magicians and soothsayers. How would, then, Israel receive messages from God? The answer is that the Lord spoke his Word to Moses and commanded him to teach the people regarding the statutes and ordinances. But Moses cannot do it forever. Who then will continue the ministry of Moses? The simple answer is that Moses will have successors. The Lord promises to raise up for the people a prophet like Moses from among them.
But not all prophets are genuine and so how to distinguish between true and false prophets? To distinguish a false prophet one should observe whether the words spoken by him become a reality. The Word of God is not static; it is active and forward looking. These words from the book of Deuteronomy are fulfilled in Jesus. Jesus is the promised prophet, and he spoke God’s Word in a wholly new and authoritative way (see Acts  3:22-23).
In the Second Reading, Paul highlights the advantage of the unmarried over the married with regard to their dedication to the Lord. His argument is that married people will have to concentrate on satisfying and pleasing their partners. On the other hand, those who remain unmarried are free from such concerns; they can devote all their attention to the affairs of the Lord. Paul’s advice is motivated by his concern for their own welfare, not to restrict them, but in order for them to give undivided devotion to the Lord.
The gospel of today demonstrates that
there is no magical element in the miracles of Jesus. Jesus cures the possessed man by his word alone without the use of magical practices. His teachings are authoritative and his actions are powerful. People perceive that God’s power at work in Jesus.
Jesus’ teaching and the divine power in healing and driving out demons are united in the proclamation of the kingdom. The presence of evil visible in human affliction and its effect in human suffering must be clearly perceived, and the devil must be defeated. Jesus can teach with authority and even the demons obey him because Jesus is the Son of God. Paradoxically the unclean spirit who opposes him recognizes that he is the Holy One of God, while the disciples who follow him do not understand him fully despite his teaching and powerful deeds.
The exorcisms that Jesus worked point to a very real human experience of bondage to powers that prevent a human person from making free and responsible decisions about things that matter. The demons here demonstrate remarkable insight when they sense that Jesus has indeed come to destroy them. The reign of God is the ultimate threat to the reign of evil and this form of the “good news” has radical implications for every aspect of the Church’s life.
Here at the beginning of Mark’s gospel Jesus is shown to be engaged in a conflict with the enemy which will continue throughout his ministry. The New Testament makes it clear that until Christ sets us free we are all under the power of the enemy to a greater or lesser degree. But Jesus has won definitive victory over the devil. Hence, guided by the Holy Spirit we can live our lives without fear and anxieties.
– AK
January / February 2018 Readings (4th Week in Ordinary Time) Psalter Week 4
29 Mon (G) 2 Sam 15:13-14, 30; 16:5-13 / Ps 3:2-7/ Mk 5:1-20
30 Tue (G) 2 Sam 18:9-10, 14, 24-25, 30; 19:3/ Ps 86:1-6/ Mk 5:21-43
31 Wed (W) St John Bosco, 2 Sam 24:2, 9-17/ Ps 32:1-2, 5-7/ Mk 6:1-6
01 Thu (G) 1 Kgs 2:1-4, 10-12/ 1 Chr 29:10-12b/ Mk 6:7-13
Mal 3:1-4/ Ps 24:7-10/ Heb 2:14-18/ Lk 2:22-40
03 Sat (G) St Blaise, 1 Kgs 3:4-13/ Ps 119:9-14/ Mk 6:30-34
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