Daily Homily: Jesus Went Down to Capernaum

Tuesday of the 22nd Week in Ordinary Time, Year Two

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1 Corinthians 2:10b-16
Psalm 145:8-9, 10-11, 12-13ab, 13cd-14
Luke 4:31-37

Today’s Gospel, which narrates the exorcism in the synagogue in Capernaum, manifests to us that, with the coming of Jesus Christ, the reign of the devil is over. Jesus has overcome the devil’s temptations in the desert, inaugurated God’s reign by preaching the Gospel, and, through this exorcism, continues to dismantle the powers of darkness.

Jesus often taught in synagogues on the Sabbath. Like his teaching in Nazareth, he sometimes proclaimed that a prophecy, such as the passage from Isaiah, was fulfilled in his person. Other times, like the bread of life discourse in John, he brought an Old Testament pre-figuration to fulfillment. For example, Jesus surpasses Moses and offers the New Manna of the Eucharist in place of the old manna of the desert. He himself is the Bread of Life and whoever eats of this bread will live forever.

People marveled at Jesus’ teaching, for he did not teach like the scribes and Pharisees. His teaching had a newness about it that set their hearts on fire. They felt like he was unveiling mysteries hidden for centuries in the Law and in the Prophets. Jesus didn’t drone on about legalistic interpretations of the Law, but spoke about the heart of the Law and gave it new meaning.

In his Letter to the Corinthians, Paul continues to contrast the «wisdom of the world» with the wisdom of God. The Holy Spirit is the one who introduces us into the depths of the knowledge of God. On our own we can come to know very little. As Paul says: «No one knows what pertains to God except the Spirit of God». Through our Baptism and Confirmation, we have received the gift of the Holy Spirit, who enables us to know the good things given to us freely by God.

Paul understands that his doctrine and teaching is not based on the spirit of the world, but rather has been given to him by the Spirit. Empowered by the Spirit, and using spiritual language, he teaches the Corinthians about spiritual, heavenly things. Those who reject the Spirit of God cannot understand this doctrine. However, those who live by the Spirit and welcome God’s Word with an understanding heart, are able to judge all things in this light.

When we cast aside the old man of sin, and put on the new man of grace, we conform our heart and our thoughts to the mind of Christ. We are to imitate Christ and, as God’s children, love the Father with all our heart, with all our mind and with all our soul.

Readers may contact Fr Jason Mitchell at mitchelljason2011@gmail.com.

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Jason Mitchell

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