This is the transcript of my homily on Mark 1: 21-28. Jesus returns from his baptism in the Jorden to Capernaum where he begins his ministry. His strategy is to start preaching where people are– at the synagogue. There he preached with authority and power. Inspired by this, how can we preach as Jesus preached?
I. The Baptism of Jesus. After coming from his baptism and receiving the approval of God and the confirmation of the Holy Spirit, Jesus begins God’s call to action in Capernaum. So if He has a message from God to give, the natural place to which he would turn would be the church where God’s people gathered.
A. Synagogue. What is a synagogue? It is primarily a teaching institution. The synagogue service consisted of only three things: prayer, reading of God’s word, and exposition or the explanation of the reading or the homily.
B. Style of Teaching. Jesus preached with a new method and atmosphere, and not like the scribes who the experts of the law.
a. He taught with personal authority. No scribe ever gave a decision or a teaching on his own. They would always begin with “There is a teaching that” and would quote all authorities. Their teachings are always in reference to another scribe.
On the other hand, Jesus taught with independence and with great confidence.
b. He proved his authority by exorcising demons. That was his first victory over the powers of evil.
For Mark, we are to listen to Jesus’ words because they are of authority. We trust in his words, because he has proven that his words are powerful as shown by the deeds that he performed. Jesus’ credibility is in the congruence of both his words and his deeds: he does what he preaches and vice versa.
How do we teach with the power and the personal authority as that of Jesus? How do we teach with confidence?
I. Our Baptism and various experiences of acceptance, confirmation and a call to action.
a. Work: After applying for a job, you receive a confirmation that you have been accepted and with it comes your job description.
b. Student Leadership: After winning an election, you are confirmed through an initiation rite for school leaders, often done during a school-wide assembly. With it are tasks and responsibilities for the school-year.
II. Strategy: On Confidence
Confidence is a state of mind. It is not built by a set of rules. It is tacit knowledge: you develop confidence by doing the following repeatedly. It means that you believe that you can do it.
a. Positive thinking. Always believe that the Holy Spirit is in you. That God is in you. Therefore, believe that you can do it. Hope that you can do better. Believe that failures prepare you for a better future.
b. Practice and training. Always believe that you have a responsibility to develop your gifts. God has given us our talents, however, it is responsibility to develop them.
c. Knowledge. Always believe that you know what you are talking about. Your content is based on facts, not from fake news; on truth, and not on hearsay; from thorough research and not from disinformation. Learning the truth is finding the Truth. Learning does not stop after graduation; nor is it confined within the classroom.
d. Talking to other people. Believe in other people’s gifts as well. Celebrate their greatness. Listen to what they’re saying; or to what they are not saying. Believe that whatever gifts you develop is for the sake of service. Connect with people. Communicate meaningful content. Show genuine concern.
These lessons affects what we believe about ourselves and other people. Thus, from your encounter with people, take what are legitimate experiences that affirm the dignity of every human person. On the other hand, undo what denies human dignity and value.
e. Pray: Always believe that our work is also God’s work. Praying removes our self-doubt.