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Get Serious!

He taught them with authority
Deuteronomy 18:15-20; Psalm 95:1-2,6-9; I Corinthians 7:32-35; Mark 1:21-28

Sermon Week Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time Cycle B

Scripture Summary Mark 1:22

A sixth-grade teacher was trying her best to discipline a particularly mischievous student. She tried reasoning with him. She tried scolding him. She tried bargaining with him. Again and again, she sent him to the principal's office. Finally, she called the boy's mother. "I'm at the point of no return with your son," she said. "He's out of control." To which the mother replied, "What's the problem?" "The problem is two-fold," said the teacher. "Number One, his behavior is horrendous. And Number Two, he has a perfect attendance record."

Today's Gospel Lesson speaks to the problem that Our Lord, the Master Teacher, sometimes had with His students -- His loyal followers, many of whom maintained perfect attendance records. It takes place at the beginning of Jesus' public ministry. Jesus had called Simon, Andrew, James, and John to discipleship and, Mark tells us, "immediately on the Sabbath He entered the synagogue and taught" (Mk. 1:21).
As Jesus spoke, a man possessed by an unclean spirit interrupted Him. But Jesus quickly drove the demon out of the afflicted man and cured him. "And they were all amazed," Mark tells us. Moreover, they "questioned among themselves, saying, 'What is this? A new teaching! With authority, He commands even the unclean spirits, and they obey Him!' And at once, His fame spread everywhere throughout all the surrounding region of Galilee" (Mk. 1:27-28).

As a Christian people, we tend to respond to Jesus' teaching as though it is not meant for us but others. An yet regardless of our attendance record here in this house of worship, there comes a time when, as a Christian people, we must get serious about the Christian life. And that time is always the present moment. Now is the time for us to take heart in the confirmation that comes from the Holy God Himself: "This is right! This is what life is all about! This is the reason I created you!" And it is this confirmation from God Himself that moves us along in the Christian Life -- from moment-to-moment and Grace-to-Grace.

Early in his adult life, [...]

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