Sunday, February 1, 2015

Today's Mass Readings - Sunday, February 1, 2015 with Reflection

1ST READING - Deuteronomy 18:15-20
15 Moses spoke to all the people saying: “A prophet like me will the Lord, your God, raise up for you from among your own kin; to him you shall listen. 16 This is exactly what you requested of the Lord, your God, at Horeb on the day of the assembly, when you said, ‘Let us not again hear the voice of the Lord, our God, nor see this great fire any more, lest we die.’ 17 And the Lord said to me, ‘This was well said. 18 I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their kin, and will put my words into his mouth; he shall tell them all that I command him. 19 Whoever will not listen to my words, which he speaks in my name, I myself will make him answer for it. 20 But if a prophet presumes to speak in my name an oracle that I have not commanded him to speak, or speaks in the name of other gods, he shall die.’”

P S A L M - Psalm 95:1-2, 6-7, 7-9
R: If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.
Come, let us sing joyfully to the Lord; let us acclaim the Rock of our salvation. Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving; let us joyfully sing psalm to him. (R) Come, let us bow down in worship; let us kneel before the Lord who made us. For he isour God, and we are the people he shepherds, the flock he guides. (R)  Oh, that today you would hear his voice: “Harden not your hearts as at Meribah, as in the day of Massah in the desert,where your fathers tempted me; they tested me though they had seen my works.” (R)

2ND READING - 1 Corinthians 7:32-35
32 Brothers and sisters: I should like you to be free of anxieties. An unmarried man is anxious about the things of the Lord, how he mayplease the Lord. 33 But a married man is anxious about the things of the world, how he may please his wife, 34 and he is divided. An unmarried woman or a virgin is anxious about the things of the Lord, so that she may be holy in both body and spirit. A married woman, on the other hand, is anxious about the things of the world, how she may please her husband. 35 I am telling you this for your own benefit, not to impose a restraint upon you, but for the sake of propriety and adherence to the Lord without distraction.

The people who sit in darkness have seen a great light; on those dwelling in a land overshadowed by death, light has arisen.

Mark 1:21-28
21 Then they came to Capernaum, and on the sabbath Jesus entered the synagogue and taught. 22 The people were astonished at his teaching, for he taught them as one having authority and not as the scribes. 23 In their synagogue was a man with an unclean spirit; 24 he cried out, “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!” 25 Jesus rebuked him and said, “Quiet! Come out of him!” 26 The unclean spirit convulsed him and with a loud cry came out of him. 27 All were amazed and asked one another, “What is this? A new teaching with authority. He commands even the unclean spirits and they obey him.” 28 His fame spread everywhere throughout the whole region of Galilee.



Let me share with you two words: orthodoxy and orthopraxy. Ortho is Greek for straight, upright, right or correct. Doxa is Greek for knowledge or teaching. So orthodoxy can be translated as correct or right teaching. Praxis can be rendered as action or living out. So orthopraxy is right living.
Today in the Gospel, Jesus meets a man possessed by an unclean spirit that shrieks. He shouts, “Jesus of Nazareth… I know who you are — the Holy One of God!” Jesus rebukes the evil spirit into silence. He would not hear anything from it. Notice that the devil, speaking through the man, knows who Jesus is. The devil is orthodox, so to speak. He has right knowledge and teaching. But while the devil has orthodoxy, he has no orthopraxy.
Before the episode with the unclean spirit, Jesus taught in the synagogue. People were spellbound by His teaching because He taught “with authority and not like the scribes.” The scribes were teachers who knew the law like the palm of their hands. As their name connotes, they write, transcribe and interpret the meaning of the Mosaic Law. Without a doubt, they had orthodoxy. But their teaching, orthodox as it may be, lacked an essential partner — orthopraxy. Their right teaching was estranged from right living. That was why their teaching had no authority.
Jesus, on the other hand, amazed people. They looked at each other and asked, “What does this mean? A completely new teaching in a spirit of authority?” What authority did Jesus have? The authority of the marriage between orthodoxy and orthopraxy. By definition, orthodoxy and orthopraxy are different. By vocation, they are meant to be spouses.
Ever heard of the maxim, “What is better than well said? Well done!”? Jesus was the incarnation of that maxim. The scribes would do well to remember that. It will do us well to remember it, too. Fr. Joel Jason

REFLECTION QUESTION: Is there a divorce between orthodoxy and orthopraxy in your life? Submit it to the healing power of regular confession, holy communion and daily perseverance.

Jesus, You are patient with my inconsistencies. Keep me in the path of the call to perfection.

St. Ansgar, bishop, pray for us.

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