He went down to Capernaum, a city in Galilee, and was teaching them on the sabbath. They were astounded at his teaching, because he spoke with authority. In the synagogue there was a man who had the spirit of an unclean demon, and he cried out with a loud voice, “Let us alone! 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!” When the demon had thrown him down before them, he came out of him without having done him any harm. They were all amazed and kept saying to one another, “What kind of utterance is this? For with authority and power he commands the unclean spirits, and out they come!” And a report about him began to reach every place in the region.
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved http://www.usccb.org/bible/approved-translations
Notice how often words like “authority,” and “power” occur in the gospel today. It is Jesus’ own authority and power. Most teachers quote other teachers, or experts. Jesus doesn’t appeal for the validity of his teaching to a well-known rabbi of his day, nor do his powerful deeds come from anyone less than his “Abba.” He gets his authority straight from God. How did he get this authority and power?
It is our belief that as God he had this from the beginning; but it is fascinating to me to observe that, in his humanity, the gospels tell us that, very often, Jesus withdrew to pray. It was as if he recharged his battery by spending time alone with God. This is a model for us: “Be still, and know that I am God,” Isaiah tells us. And, after their exciting successes, when the disciples return home, Jesus says to them: “Come aside and rest a while.” This is good advice for us, too, don’t you think?
So what does Jesus’ invitation to “come aside” mean for me today?
—Robert Braunreuther, S.J. is a Jesuit of the New England province. He assists in University Ministry at Loyola University Chicago where he is also minister of the Arrupe House Jesuit community.
O Spirit of God, we ask you to help orient
all our actions by your inspirations,
carry them on by your gracious assistance,
that every prayer and work of ours
may always begin from you
and through you be happily ended.
—A Prayer for Spiritual Freedom
(Excerpt from Hearts on Fire: Praying with Jesuit