These things God has revealed to us through the Spirit. For the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God. For what person knows a man's thoughts except the spirit of the man which is in him? So also no one comprehends the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit which is from God, that we might understand the gifts bestowed on us by God. And we impart this in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual truths to those who possess the Spirit.
The unspiritual man does not receive the gifts of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because the are spiritually discerned. The spiritual man judges all things, but is himself to be judged by no one. "For who has known the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?" But we have the mind of Christ.
The Lord is gracious and merciful,
slow to anger and of great kindness.
The Lord is good to all
compassionate toward all his works. (R./)
Let all your works give you thanks, O Lord,
and let your faithful ones bless you.
Let them speak of the glory of your reign,
and speak of your might o Lord,
making known to men your great deeds
and the glorious splendour of your reign. (R./)
Yours is an everlasting kingdom,
and your dominion endures through all generations.
The Lord is faithful in all his words
and holy in all his works.
The Lord lifts up all who are falling
and raises up all who are bowed down. (R./)
Jesus went down to Capernaum, a city in Galilee, and was teaching them on the Sabbath. They were astounded at his teaching, because he spoke with authority. In the synagogue there was a man who had the spirit of an unclean demon, and he cried out with a loud voice, "Let us alone! 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." But Jesus rebuked him, saying, "Be silent, and come out of him!" When the demon had thrown him down before them, he came out of him without having done him any harm. They were all amazed and kept saying to one another, "What kind of utterance is this? For with authority and power he commands the unclean spirits, and out they come!" And a report about him began to reach every place in the region.
Much of the time, life plods quietly along, routine setting the pace of each day. But Paul urges us to take a sprightlier view of things: "All of you are children of light and of the day. We belong neither to darkness nor to night." Often, what happens unexpectedly has been lurking in the shadows of our character. It can be a healthy purification to come clean and be out with it. But we cannot arrive at the truth about ourselves without the light of the Holy Spirit. We hear again from Paul: "The natural person does not accept what is taught by the Spirit of God." Indeed, we rely heavily on the Holy Spirit to put our inner selves back together again, once we have experienced any serious transition. In this "we have the mind of Christ," says Paul. We must believe God's providence embraces this sudden change and can direct our life as Christ's was directed.
Even if we resist change and cling to what is familiar, we are not left forever in a hopeless bind. Suddenly on any Sabbath day Jesus can come into our lives to drive out our "devils" of fear or anger or despondency. Like the people in that synagogue, we find ourselves spellbound by his teaching, for the words have the divine authority and ring of truth. Then he can speak to our heart and open up the dark reserves of our unconscious as with power he commands the unclean spirit to leave us. Through our attentiveness to the Scriptures and to prayer, we are regularly in Jesus' presence, waiting for those turning points that only He can stir up in us.
Jesus was confronted by someone who addressed him in an angry tone, 'What do you want with us? Have you come to destroy us?' Jesus did not withdraw in the face of such aggression but responded in a way that brought healing to this disturbed person. So often in the gospels, Jesus does not respond in kind to those who oppose him. Even as he hung from the cross, he prayed for those who had put him there, 'Father, forgive them for they know not what they do?' The gospels assure us that the Lord does not relate to us as we relate to him; his way, relating to us is always more generous and loving than our way, relating to him. In this morning's gospel, the people responded to Jesus' meeting with the disturbed man in the synagogue by expressing amazement at his authority. Jesus exercises his authority by showing love and kindness to those who have no claim on it. In that way he shows us what real authority looks like.