10 January. Tuesday of Week 1
1st Reading: Hebrews 2:5-12
Jesus is crowned with glory, having been tested through suffering
Now God did not subject the coming world, about which we are speaking, to angels. But someone has testified somewhere, “What are human beings that you are mindful of them, or mortals, that you care for them? You have made them for a little while lower than the angels; you have crowned them with glory and honour, subjecting all things under their feet.”
Now in subjecting all things to them, God left nothing outside their control. As it is, we do not yet see everything in subjection to them, but we do see Jesus, who for a little while was made lower than the angels, now crowned with glory and honour because of the suffering of death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone.
It was fitting that God, for whom and through whom all things exist, in bringing many children to glory, should make the pioneer of their salvation perfect through sufferings. For the one who sanctifies and those who are sanctified all have one Father. For this reason Jesus is not ashamed to call them brothers and sisters, saying, “I will proclaim your name to my brothers and sisters, in the midst of the congregation I will praise you.”
Gospel: Mark 1:21-28
Jesus teaches with authority and even commands unclean spirits
They went to Capernaum; and when the sabbath came, he entered the synagogue and taught. They were astounded at his teaching, for he taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes.
Just then there was in their synagogue a man with an unclean spirit, and he cried out, “What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are, the Holy One of God.”
But Jesus rebuked him, saying, “Be silent, and come out of him!” And the unclean spirit, convulsing him and crying with a loud voice, came out of him. They were all amazed, and they kept on asking one another, “What is this? A new teaching–with authority! He commands even the unclean spirits, and they obey him.” At once his fame began to spread throughout the surrounding region of Galilee.
Who is this man, Jesus, for us?
The bystanders in Capernaum wondered about Jesus, impressed by the power of his teaching and his unique authority over evil spirits. But was it really all that new? Others before him had wrestled with devils and evil spirits. We can recall Moses’ tryst with the magicians in Egypt and his command over the forces of wickedness and havoc (Exod 7:22; 8:3).
What was unique about Jesus is well expressed Hebrews: He is the one who, during his life on earth was made lower than the angels, but is now crowned with glory and honour because of the death he suffered, “so that by the grace of God he tasted death for everyone.” He is the pioneer of our salvation, himself perfected by his sacrificial suffering during his Passion. He brings us into a family relationship with God, for now “the one who sanctifies and those who are sanctified all have one Father.”
We can take joy from this basic fact: Jesus counts us as his own brothers and sisters. His life’s work was to gather us together as God’s family, and his intention is clear, “I will proclaim your name to my brothers and sisters.” This truth summons us to live life actively and prayerfully; to interact with others in promoting the Kingdom of God; to realize that Jesus has shared each of our trials and temptations so that in him we arrive at our full identity as children of God.
Jesus enters the synagogue of Capernaum and releases a man from an unclean spirit, a spirit which would have separated him from the worshipping community and from God. Our Blessed Lord lived and died to draw people into a new community of faith, hope and love, and thereby, to a deeper relationship with God. He did not try to lead people to God in isolation from others. He understood that our individual journey to God is always a journey that we travel with others. Our earthly pilgrimage, our journey towards God, is never a purely private pilgrimage; it is a shared pilgrimage. We need each other along the way. We have a responsibility for each other along the way. We have gifts that the Spirit has given us that others need, and others have gifts that the Spirit has given them that we need. Jesus himself never worked alone. The Lord calls us to journey together. The Christian life has to be, at some level, a shared experience, a communal experience.