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Homilies :: Latin Rite
Tuesday, 1st week in the Ordinary time Download This Homily

JANUARY 15, 2019

Tuesday, 1st week in the Ordinary time

 

Hebrews 2:5-12 ;

Psalm 8:2, 5-9;

 Gospel MK 1:21-28


Jesus came to Capernaum with his followers, and on the sabbath he entered the synagogue and taught. The people were astonished at his teaching, for he taught them as one having authority and not as the scribes. In their synagogue was a man with an unclean spirit; he cried out, "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, "Quiet!  Come out of him!" The unclean spirit convulsed him and with a loud cry came out of him. All were amazed and asked one another, "What is this? A new teaching with authority. He commands even the unclean spirits and they obey him." His fame spread everywhere throughout the whole region of Galilee.

 

 Soft Power

 

Sri. Shashi Tharoor, the Indian Minister of State for Human Resource Development , in one of his articles speaks about the Soft Power of India. He is of the view that instead of spending huge amount of our resources every year for building up the military power, India has to focus more on developing its soft power: its economy, its unique cultural heritage, its natural resources, its indigenous systems of medicine etc. He also gives examples of countries that have focused on developing their soft power like Sweden, Norway, Switzerland and Japan.


Today’s Gospel speaks about Jesus’ authority. I find a lot of connection between the kind of authority Jesus possessed and the concept of soft power about which Sashi Tharoor speaks. We read in the Gospel, “the people who heard him were amazed at the way he taught, for he wasn’t like the teachers of the Law, instead he taught with authority.”  Again after Jesus cured a man with an evil spirit people exclaimed, “This man has authority to give orders to the evil spirits, and they obey him.” Nobody had given Jesus any authority because he was not in any position of power as far as we understand from the Gospels. He was not one among the Scribes and Pharisees, the religious leaders of the Jews. Against this background we may naturally ask the question what was the source of his authority. The source of Jesus’ authority was his “soft power”- his integrity and authenticity, his depth of knowledge, his excellent communication skill and above all his connectivity with God, the source of all power, through personal prayer and reflection.


A person who has developed his/her soft power will not be crazy after “hard power”, the power to reward and punish. Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Mother Theresa were persons with enormous soft power. In the present time Aug San Suki, the pro democracy leader of Myanmar is an excellent example of soft power.  Sometimes persons with “soft power” are given the “hard power” to shoulder greater responsibilities, as it happened in the case of Nelson Mandela. We also come across persons with soft power in our own surroundings. The persons who have not developed their “soft power”, very often fail in making the proper use of “hard power”. Sometime they may misuse and abuse the “hard power”, leading to great damage to the family or community or society.  It is highly risky and dangerous to entrust hard power to those who have not developed their soft power. They may either misuse it or they may be manipulated by the vested interest groups that play the role of “king makers”.

Following the example of Jesus let us focus on developing our soft power through our personal integrity, deepening knowledge, developing the God given talents and connecting ourselves with God through personal prayer and reflection.


Rev. Fr. Jacob Peenickaparambil CMI


Homilies Navchetana Apps, the first of its kind is produced and published by Navchetana Communications, Bhopal, India to assist the clergy to preach the World of God and also as a handy spiritual resource for the people of God to reflect on the daily spiritual passages at their convenience. You can download this on your Android phone from Google play and you can see the Gospel reflections of the whole year. The size of this app is just 2.5 MB. We welcome your suggestions and contributions to server you better.

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Fr. James M L CMI

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Homilies Navchetana is an initiative of Navchetana Communications, Bhopal, India. We have been sending the Sunday and daily homilies last four years. We are grateful to you for your cooperation and encouraging comments. Navchetana is committed to spread the Good News of Jesus Christ through modern media and performing arts. Through our Web TV, audio and video productions and stage programmes we take the Gospel message to the ends of the earth. Make a donation and be a part of this noble mission.


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