1st Tuesday of Ordinary Time
I Samuel 1: 9 – 20; Resp. 1 Sam. 2; Mark 1: 21 – 28
St. Mark in his usual straightforward way states: “Jesus came to Capernaum with his followers, and on the Sabbath He entered the synagogue and taught.” The account does not tells us His content but it does say: “The people were astonished at His teaching.”
The Greek verb for “were astonished” is also used by St. Luke is describing a similar scene and is translated “were spellbound” – however translated, it certainly shows that the people were totally captivated by the Lord Jesus. He had authority; it was clear to them but not an authority that was domineering, haughty, overbearing in any way.
His authority was and is a power of love – love that drives out fear, doubt, anxiety – love that is extravagant in its total giving. He gave totally of Himself – probably something the people felt and found hard to put into words. Like Cleophas and his companion, they could only say, “Were not our hearts burning as He spoke!” His presence, His word, His compassion held them. And because of this experience of a teaching and a cure, they had to ask, “What is this?” How could they not?
In our own lives captivated by Christ, we would not be here for this Eucharist, not moved to pray, to do Lectio Divina, to love, forgive except that the Lord holds us in a graced captivity, spellbound by His loving presence. Should we not also ask, “What is this?” So that, from this knowledge with greater desire, greater passion we treasure, embrace, live our captivity to the fullest.
We begin the Church’s Season of Ordinary Time today but when all is said and done, no time with God, no experience of the Lord is ordinary. He came to the people of Capernaum and He comes to us – His coming is always a gift of extravagant love, of extraordinary mercy.