In the town of Capernaum on the north-east shore of the Sea of Galilee stands the ruins of a third century synagogue. On one wall is a flat stone seat where the rabbis and elders would sit and teach. It’s called the seat of Moses. When the rabbis taught they always quoted or refereed back to another rabbi and eventually to Moses. As we heard yesterday the people were amazed and astonished at the teaching of Jesus. Why? He didn’t quote the rabbis: for his teaching came from within. His words had power; they were new and alive.
When Jesus cast out the unclean Spirit from the man in the synagogue, Saint Luke says that he “rebuked him.” It was by the power of his WORD that the Spirit was cast out.
When Jesus left the synagogue, he entered Peter’s house. On finding Peter’s mother-in law sick with a fever, again it says Jesus “rebuked the fever” Jesus healed her by the power of his “word” and Jesus also healed all who were brought to him by laying hands on then and by the power of his “word.
After Peter’s mother-in law was healed she got up and began to serve them. It’s the same with us – we receive baptism and the Word of Christ heals us of original sin and we are raised up to serve Jesus in his community.
In the Sacrament of Reconciliation we hear the Jesus’ Words of consolation and mercy: they heal us as we are forgiven.
In the Anointing of the Sick we hear the healing Words of Jesus from the priest who lays hands on us, and anoints us with the oil of the sick. The power of the words of Christ, heal us in body and soul and we know the church is praying for us.
We hear the Word of Christ in the Gospels which rebukes our sinfulness. They have the power to strengthen us, guide us and they on us to witness the Good News to the world.
In particular, we hear the Words of Jesus in the mass that have the power to transform the bread and the wine into the Body and Blood of Christ.
The power of the word brings us an abundance of Christ’s presence.
Fr. Patrick Daugherty, C.P.