A theme that is present in today’s gospel is Jesus’ authority. We hear that Jesus, “taught with authority” (Mk 1:22) and also a comment that Jesus’ new teaching came, “with authority behind it” (Mk 1:27). So, what did Jesus do with this authority that was so evident in his ministry? Did he boss people around? Did he throw his weight around? I strongly suggest the answer is no, on both accounts.
What is evident in the gospel passage for this 4th Sunday in Ordinary Time, is that Jesus uses his authority to serve. Jesus came not to be served but to serve. The gospel today is very clear on this point. Jesus used his authority to heal the man possessed by the unclean spirit. Jesus uses his authority to reach out in service. Jesus’ example is a reminder for all of us to use whatever authority we have to serve others.
Let us pray that our reputation as Christians spreads marked by our desire to serve.