September 3, 2019
by Luis Rodriguez, S.J.
Creighton University's Jesuit Community
click here for photo and information about the writer

Memorial of Saint Gregory the Great, Pope and Doctor of the Church
Lectionary: 431

1 Thesssalonians 5:1-6, 9-11
Psalms 27:1, 4, 13-14
Luke 4:31-37

Praying Ordinary Time


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It may not sound like it at first, but the closing part of the gospel reading is particularly challenging for us today: Jesus speaks and commands with authority and power. When we see flyers announcing lectures, we often read a listing of “credentials”: diplomas, experience, degrees... It is such cred-entials that are supposed to render the lecture cred-ible.

Jesus had neither degrees nor diplomas: what is there about his word? or in Nazareth: where did he learn all this?. Yet he spoke with authority: what he said came from his heart, from inner conviction ...not like the scribes. The scribes needed to quote their Torah, in order to be credible. Jesus did at times also quote Scripture, but he dared to move beyond its literal sense: you have heard... but I say to you... He was not authoritarian, he was authoritative.

His authority was not political clout or temple power, it was moral authority that came from his life witness: who among you can convict me of sin? When life witness is present, there is no need for external cred-entials. Beyond speaking with authority Jesus was living with authority. Pope Francis speaks with authority, because he lives with authority.

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