by Sister Laura Zelten
Today's Gospel gives us a glimpse into the culture of Jesus' time and a deeper understanding of why he was such a powerful and often-perceived disruptive figure. First, he teaches "as one having authority," despite lacking the training or position considered necessary. He is seen as bold and rebellious, yet his words and actions ring with truth. Even the "unclean spirit" within the man is aware of the power of Jesus' presence and reacts accordingly.
Like Jesus, the power of our words must come from a deep faith in a God who calls us to work for justice, to ask questions and to speak up. Without the faith that calls us to ask questions, we cannot be prophetic and speak with authority.
In a certain sense, the power of our words and actions can make a difference in the world, driving out the evil spirits of injustice, poverty, violence and selfishness, and inviting in the good spirits of justice, peace, community and economic well-being for all.