Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time – Year B

Where does authority come from? Why is one man regarded as a prophet, and another as a lunatic, and a third as a hypocrite? Jesus startles the crowds with a ‘new teaching’ today, but what amazes them so much is not the message but the authority behind it: they are convinced because what he does somehow adds credibility to what he says. It’s the old situation that we are all familiar with – we look through words to see the actions, which show us the real message. The scribes did not heal or work miracles, but simply talked about God. Jesus talks about the Kingdom of God, but also shows the people what it is – a Kingdom where all that damages human happiness is abolished. The other side to this is that we must listen to a prophet or teacher when they are backed by such authority; we may not “harden our hearts” and ignore the message when we have recognised that the messenger is sent by God. This is the hard part, because it demands that we too show, by our actions, that we have heard.

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