Making His Mark- Tuesday, 1st week in ordinary time – Mark 1: 21-28

The Gospel of Mark was written in around 64-67 AD, before the fall of Jerusalem to the Romans. The Gospel was written in Rome by Mark who is usually portrayed as a companion of Paul or as 1 Peter 5:13 describes him as Peter’s co-worker. Mark wrote the Gospel when the Christians community lived under the threat of persecution.

Mark is the first of the Gospel writers to pen down an orderly account of Jesus’ ministry in what is a geographical-theological structure. The first part of the Gospel describes Jesus’ activity in Galilee and beyond and the second part of the Gospel focuses on Jerusalem and the journey from Galilee to Jerusalem. The theological aspect of the outline highlights his authority (exousia)

The Gospel of today focuses on Jesus’ authority. It is the question of this authority, which forms the opening of His ministry in today’s Gospel and is revealed by Jesus in His work and word.  It is this authority that will be rejected by His own people and cause misunderstandings even among his disciples. It is the nature of this authority that Jesus will clarify on the way to Jerusalem. It is the consequences of this authority that will be spelt out by Jesus for his followers.  It is this authority that will bring Him in direct confrontation with the Jewish leaders who will reject his authority and put Him to death.

The Gospel of Mark opens with the proclamation of John the Baptist then moves to Jesus’ baptism, his temptations, and the call of the first disciples (four of them) and then the first of the many healings. Today’s pericope takes place in Capernaum, the headquarters of Jesus ministry. It is here on the Sabbath that He teaches with authority, rebukes the unclean spirit with authority and is recognized by the people as a man who speaks and acts with authority unlike the scribes. In the Gospels the scribes are the interpreters and teachers of the Old Testament law and not simply secretaries or clerks.

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