Gospel Reflection 3rd Sunday in Ordinary Time – Cycle B

As Cistercians we treasure an historic prayer called Lectio Divina, which is to pray using the Bible. We take a passage, read it through slowly, and listen for any part that chimes with us, personally. We mull over the words and the images in our mind, rather like a wine taster savoring a mouthful of special Bordeaux red. And we allow this to become a prayer, a way in to communicating with God, to hearing what the Gospel means to us.
In today’s Gospel, we hear that Jesus took the community by storm. He came with new teachings and a vibrant authority. It is part of our prayer that we place ourselves in the Gospel, and we pay attention to our reaction as it unfolds with us inside it.
What IS our reaction? What is Jesus saying to us? Of course, the prayer of Lectio Divina is a personal prayer and what washes up will be different for everyone. But, as the writer of this article ponders, here is what comes out of the prayer.
Firstly, we are chosen to witness this great happening of Jesus rebuking the devil. We are there to see his authority and his need to cleanse, to heal. We might even place ourselves in the position of the one being healed, someone whose life has been altered forever by the loving interjection of Christ. We may not have needed to be exorcised, but Jesus HAS been there for us. And he IS there, showing us the way, giving us the pathway to health and peace and good community.
Secondly, this pathway is the Word. As the word of God spread, we have been taken up by it too, over two thousand years later, swept away with the love of God. The very words that we ponder, as a route into knowing God, are our signposts, our pathway, just as Jesus’ presence was a pathway to those in the Gospel story we are reading.
Thirdly, through the remarkable traditions of the Church and her teaching, we have ourselves become part of Christ’s message of love. It is not just the Gospel that has become a river of flowing grace, but our very selves. As the words flow through us, so we are called to channel Christ’s message to everyone around us.
A reading from the holy Gospel according to Mark (1:21-28)
Glory to you, O Lord
Jesus and his followers went as far as Capernaum, and as soon as the sabbath came Jesus went to the synagogue and began to teach. And his teaching made a deep impression on them because, unlike the scribes, he taught them with authority.
In their synagogue just then there was a man possessed by an unclean spirit, and it shouted, ‘What do you want with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are: the Holy One of God.’ But Jesus said sharply, ‘Be quiet! Come out of him!’ And the unclean spirit threw the man into convulsions and with a loud cry went out of him. The people were so astonished that they started asking each other what it all meant. ‘Here is a teaching that is new’ they said ‘and with authority behind it: he gives orders even to unclean spirits and they obey him.’ And his reputation rapidly spread everywhere, through all the surrounding Galilean countryside.
The Gospel of the Lord.