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Marla Clark-Sanders

Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time

All were amazed and asked one another, "What is this? A new teaching with authority." (Mk. 1:21-28)


The Gospel of Mark is short yet jam-packed from beginning to end, depicting Jesus as a man of action who teaches with a new authority. John the Baptist had foretold about this Jesus who would baptize people with the Holy Spirit.

In the first Chapter of Mark, Jesus traveled through Galilee, telling the people to turn away from their sins. "The right time has come, he said, "and the Kingdom of God is near! Turn away from your sins and believe the Good News!" (Mk. 1:15).   One can feel the sense of urgency when Jesus delivers this message. He immediately calls Simon and Andrew to be fishers of men and women, "Come with me, and I will teach you to catch people" (Mk. 1:17). He also invites the brothers, James and John, to join them.

The people, especially the Pharisees, were unfamiliar with someone teaching with such authority as Jesus. He spoke in parables so people could understand the story's moral. In Capernaum, Jesus continued preaching and teaching the Good News in the form of storytelling to help people see the error of their ways and start turning their lives around. He continued to cast out evil spirits, heal the sick, and preach the Good News. Jesus ordered the spirit, "Be quiet, and come out of the man!" (Mk. 1:25).

I can imagine the people wondering, Who is this Jesus? He does not teach like the Scribes or Ancestors of Old. (The Scribes and Ancestors taught from the position of others, confirming their authority and validating their teachings.) Is this some kind of new teaching? Where did he get this "Authority" that even the evil spirits obey him?

The answer is that the "Authority" came from God Himself, for God was Incarnated in Jesus. True God and True Man, and as such, Jesus had complete authority over everything on earth. That is the reason He taught with the "Authority" of God. He did not need a man to confirm or validate His Authority, for Jesus was the Authority (God made man).

When Jesus was baptized in the Jordan and came up out of the water, He saw the Holy Spirit descend upon Him in the form of a dove (Mk. 3:17). Then a voice said from heaven, "This is my own dear Son, with whom I am pleased." I believe it was at this point that the full "Authority" of God on earth was manifested in Jesus by the Holy Spirit, the Triune God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Jesus knew who He was, and that was God the Son. That is the reason he taught with the "Authority "of God. It is also why the people did not understand this new way of teaching with "Authority." They did not know God. They did not know who Jesus was. They were not filled with the Holy Spirit. That power and authority were given to the Apostles on Pentecost after Jesus' death and resurrection.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church, Section 3 Par. 1302, The Effects of Confirmation, states, "It is evident from its celebration that the effect of the sacrament of Confirmation is the full outpouring of the Holy Spirit as once granted to the apostles on the day of Pentecost."

Through our Confirmation, we were commissioned by Jesus Christ with the full "Authority" of God to be His disciples. We must teach with "Authority" and bring the Good News, Righteousness, and Social Justice to the lost and unlearned in our families and communities.

How is it that some people like Rev Dr Martin Luther King, Jr., Sr Thea Bowman, Fr Jim Goode, Nelson Mandela, Mother Teresa, and Sr Marie Anselm, SSF (all deceased) taught and preached like they knew they had the "Authority" from God and the "Power" of the Holy Spirit to teach and preach with "Authority?" 

God's Authority through the Holy Spirit can manifest itself in many ways and degrees. It can be manifested in our talents and skills. It is to be nurtured and cultivated so that others may come to know Jesus and observe the working of the Holy Spirit through our works, deeds, and actions. "No one lights a lamp and covers it with a bowl or puts it under a bed. Instead, it is put on the lampstand, so that people will see the light as they come in" (Lk. 8:16). 

In 2024, let us be fishers of men and women. Let us go forth and cast our nets wherever the Holy Spirit leads us. Let us commit to having a closer relationship with Jesus because it is through Him, with Him, and in Him that all our blessings, authority, and power of the Holy Spirit flow.

"I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me" (Phil. 4:13).  

Left to Right: Barbara Blackmon, Marla Sanders, Charlene & Michael Howard, Rozella Marshall at St. Lawerence of Brindisi Church in LA for Martin Luther King, Jr. Mass

Marla Clark-Sanders, President

KPC Coordinating Councils and Courts Southwest Region

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