Following Jesus’ Words with Astonishment, Tuesday of the 22nd Week of Ordinary Time (I), September 3, 2013

Fr. Roger J. Landry
St. Bernadette Parish, Fall River, MA
Tuesday of the 22nd Week of Ordinary Time, Year I
Memorial of St. Gregory the Great
September 3, 2013
1 Thess 5:1-6.9-11, Ps 27, Lk 4:31-37

To listen to an audio version of this homily, please click here: 


The following points were attempted in the homily:

  • Jesus taught with an authority that astonished his listeners, an authority that he manifested in a particular way by silencing and exorcising a demon that had interrupted his homily. If the demons obeyed Jesus’ words, how much more do we. But Jesus commands us differently than the demons. He commanded the demons by his divine power, which the demons couldn’t resist. He commands us, so that we know exactly what we ought to do, but he leaves it to our freedom. We’re called with astonishment to recognize his words are the path to holiness, happiness and heaven and to put them into practice.
  • Today we can ponder the words Jesus says to us at the beginning of every liturgical year, which is to stay awake and vigilant for his presence. That’s the message St. Paul was reinforcing in the first reading to the Thessalonians. He calls us to live as children of the light, living in the daylight of the Lord’s presence even while they’re sleeping, rather than living in the darkness of sin.
  • St. Gregory the Great was one who lived in the Lord’s light and spread it within the Church and in the world. He was a precocious Mayor of Rome in his young 30s, but he left it to live more in the Lord’s light by founding a Benedictine monastery in Rome. Many other men joined him seeking that same light. Eventually he was chosen to be Pope and he sought to help Christ’s light illumine the bishops and priests of the Church by helping them to live a holier life, make luminous the Church’s liturgy by the reform of the prayers of the Mass and Church music (the Gregorian chant named after him), and gave so much more guidance flowing from the light of faith. Outside the Church, he sent Benedictine Monks to illumine various feudal kings with the light of faith and the light of reason, and sent others to evangelize areas that had not yet received the light. He did so much in so short a period of time because he knew that time was short, and he stayed awake in faith and worked with patient urgency to bring others to live with Christ in the day. We ask him to intercede for us today that we might receive as he did the gifts of Christ, the Light of the World, so that we might reflect that light in a world that still wanders in darkness.

These were the readings for Mass: 

Reading 1
1 THES 5:1-6, 9-11

Concerning times and seasons, brothers and sisters,
you have no need for anything to be written to you.
For you yourselves know very well
that the day of the Lord will come like a thief at night.
When people are saying, “Peace and security,”
then sudden disaster comes upon them,
like labor pains upon a pregnant woman,
and they will not escape.

But you, brothers and sisters, are not in darkness,
for that day to overtake you like a thief.
For all of you are children of the light
and children of the day.
We are not of the night or of darkness.
Therefore, let us not sleep as the rest do,
but let us stay alert and sober.
For God did not destine us for wrath,
but to gain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ,
who died for us, so that whether we are awake or asleep
we may live together with him.
Therefore, encourage one another and build one another up,
as indeed you do.

Responsorial Psalm
PS 27:1, 4, 13-14

R. (13) I believe that I shall see the good things of the Lord in the land of the living.
The LORD is my light and my salvation;
whom should I fear?
The LORD is my life’s refuge;
of whom should I be afraid?
R. I believe that I shall see the good things of the Lord in the land of the living.
One thing I ask of the LORD;
this I seek:
To dwell in the house of the LORD
all the days of my life,
That I may gaze on the loveliness of the LORD
and contemplate his temple.
R. I believe that I shall see the good things of the Lord in the land of the living.
I believe that I shall see the bounty of the LORD
in the land of the living.
Wait for the LORD with courage;
be stouthearted, and wait for the LORD.
R. I believe that I shall see the good things of the Lord in the land of the living.

LK 4:31-37

Jesus went down to Capernaum, a town of Galilee.
He taught them on the sabbath,
and they were astonished at his teaching
because he spoke with authority.
In the synagogue there was a man with the spirit of an unclean demon,
and he cried out in a loud voice,
“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!”
Jesus rebuked him and said, “Be quiet! Come out of him!”
Then the demon threw the man down in front of them
and came out of him without doing him any harm.
They were all amazed and said to one another,
“What is there about his word?
For with authority and power he commands the unclean spirits,
and they come out.”
And news of him spread everywhere in the surrounding region.