Tag Archives: authority

9 January, Tuesday – True Authority

9 January
____________________

1 Samuel 1:9-20

After they had eaten in the hall, Hannah rose and took her stand before the Lord, while Eli the priest was sitting on his seat by the doorpost of the temple of the Lord. In the bitterness of her soul she prayed to the Lord with many tears and made a vow, saying, ‘O Lord of Hosts! If you will take notice of the distress of your servant, and bear me in mind and not forget your servant and give her a man-child, I will give him to the Lord for the whole of his life and no razor shall ever touch his head.’

While she prayed before the Lord which she did for some time, Eli was watching her mouth, for she was speaking under her breath; her lips were moving but her voice could not be heard. He therefore supposed that she was drunk and said to her, ‘How long are you going to be in this drunken state? Rid yourself of your wine.’ ‘No, my lord,’ Hannah replied ‘I am a woman in great trouble; I have taken neither wine nor strong drink – I was pouring out my soul before the Lord. Do not take your maidservant for a worthless woman; all this time I have been speaking from the depth of my grief and my resentment.’ Then Eli answered her: ‘Go in peace,’ he said ‘and may the God of Israel grant what you have asked of him.’ And she said, ‘May your maidservant find favour in your sight’; and with that the woman went away; she returned to the hall and ate and was dejected no longer.

They rose early in the morning and worshipped before the Lord and then set out and returned to their home in Ramah. Elkanah had intercourse with Hannah his wife and the Lord was mindful of her. She conceived and gave birth to a son, and called him Samuel ‘since’ she said ‘I asked the Lord for him.’

____________________

Mark 1:21-28

Jesus and his followers went as far as Capernaum, and as soon as the sabbath came he went to the synagogue and began to teach. And his teaching made a deep impression on them because, unlike the scribes, he taught them with authority.

In their synagogue just then there was a man possessed by an unclean spirit and it shouted, ‘What do you want with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are: the Holy One of God.’ But Jesus said sharply, ‘Be quiet! Come out of him!’ And the unclean spirit threw the man into convulsions and with a loud cry went out of him. The people were so astonished that they started asking each other what it all meant. ‘Here is a teaching that is new’ they said ‘and with authority behind it: he gives orders even to unclean spirits and they obey him.’ And his reputation rapidly spread everywhere, through all the surrounding Galilean countryside.

____________________

He taught them with authority

I am an avid user of social media, and one of the most memorable memes I have seen is that concerning the difference between a leader and a manager. The manager ‘leads’ from the back, often dictating what his employees are supposed to do and drives all actions with commands and instructions. His power comes from his official position within the formal organisation.

The leader, on the other hand, leads by example. He is often in the trenches and shows his followers through his actions. His actions lead people, not his words.

As someone leading a team in the past, I have reflected on which category of leader I belonged to; and I concluded that I was probably a blend of both, depending on which organisation and circumstances I was in. Despite calling myself a Christian and a Catholic, I was ashamed that I was not a better reflection of my faith.

In the Gospel today, Jesus shows His authority in ordering the unclean spirit to leave the possessed man. When I reflect on this, I realised that, apart from being the Son of God, Jesus derived a large part of this authority from His relationship with the Father. Before the events in today’s Gospel, Jesus had been baptised and had spent 40 days and nights in the wilderness. In the wild, Jesus got to spend time fasting and praying, building His relationship with God the Father.

Looking back at my times as a leader, I found that during the times when I was the ‘negative leader’, I tended not to be grounded with God and when I demonstrated ‘positive leadership’, I felt closer to God.

Let us continue to seek God so that He may cover us with His Spirit. Only through this are we able to draw on His strength to lead our lives authoritatively as Christians. May we learn to become models of our faith.

(Today’s Oxygen by Paul Wee)

Prayer: Father God, we pray we may learn to draw on Your strength and our relationship with You. Help us, Father, to be better.

Thanksgiving: Jesus Lord, thank You for coming among us to lead us by example. Thank You for showing us what it means to be true Christians. Thank You for helping us go beyond the shallow, and touch what is real.

28 May, Saturday – Relinquishing Control

28 May

_____________________

Jude 1:17,20-25

Remember, my dear friends, what the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ told you to expect. But you, my dear friends, must use your most holy faith as your foundation and build on that, praying in the Holy Spirit; keep yourselves within the love of God and wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to give you eternal life. When there are some who have doubts reassure them; when there are some to be saved from the fire, pull them out; but there are others to whom you must be kind with great caution, keeping your distance even from outside clothing which is contaminated by vice.

Glory be to him who can keep you from falling and bring you safe to his glorious presence, innocent and happy. To God, the only God, who saves us through Jesus Christ our Lord, be the glory, majesty, authority and power, which he had before time began, now and for ever. Amen.

_____________________

Mark 11:27-33

Jesus and his disciples came to Jerusalem, and as Jesus was walking in the Temple, the chief priests and the scribes and the elders came to him, and they said to him, ‘What authority have you for acting like this? Or who gave you authority to do these things?’ Jesus said to them, ‘I will ask you a question, only one; answer me and I will tell you my authority for acting like this. John’s baptism: did it come from heaven, or from man? Answer me that.’ And they argued it out this way among themselves: ‘If we say from heaven, he will say, “Then why did you refuse to believe him?” But dare we say from man?’ – they had the people to fear, for everyone held that John was a real prophet. So their reply to Jesus was, ‘We do not know.’ And Jesus said to them, ‘Nor will I tell you my authority for acting like this.’

_____________________

Who gave you authority?

Today, I went for the Sacrament of Reconciliation. When I was done with my confession, the priest began to speak and minister to me. This has happened to me several times. As I was listening to what the priest was saying, one side of me accepted what he spoke of obediently, but another side of me questioned if he was speaking to me as an ordinary person, as the priest who knew me so well. Or was he speaking in the person of Jesus Christ who is so loving and forgiving. Who was he to tell me to forgive and let go of things of the past? How would he know or understand exactly how I felt at the time when the sin was committed?

On another occasion, over Sunday lunch, my brother and I were having a conversation about a situation that was bothering me. The conversation got a little bit intense. He had touched on a very sensitive but real part of me that I refused to acknowledge for a long time. He hit a raw nerve. I started to ‘fight back’, tears streaming down my face. My own reaction surprised both of us. I felt the anger and frustration well up within me. How could he be so ‘judgemental’ and all-knowing about how I felt? In truth, he was right. But I simply refused to acknowledge what he said. Yet, he is my brother and he knows me well.

In today’s gospel reading, the scribes and the Pharisees questioned Jesus’ authority to act and teach as he did. Our Lord showed his jurisdiction over the sacred institution of the temple by closing it down. He drove out the merchants, those who bought and sold the animals, overturning the tables of the moneychangers and prohibiting men bringing in fresh supplies of wood and water and clothes. The Pharisees were extremely upset with Jesus – because this very act undermined their authority and was a threat to their source of power. Jesus’ closing down all commercial activity at the temple also hampered monies flowing into the temple and into their own pockets. They sensed the political threat and set out to test Jesus in the hope of eroding his popularity with the people. They were working for themselves to fuel their own power, and not doing the work or will of God.

For us believers today, we seek to exercise our authority not for political power or commercial gain. But do we question Jesus’ authority just because He did not answer our prayers the way we wanted him to? Do we question Him and His ways just because the answers (or lack of) did not go the way we hoped for? Do we feel cornered like the Pharisees when given a choice we did not like?

Brothers and sisters, God has engraved us on the palms of His hands. Does He not know us better than we know ourselves? Will we relinquish our human desire to take control and give Him authority over our lives?

(Today’s OXYGEN by Geraldine Nah)

Prayer: Lord of our lives, because of Jesus, we know that we can come to you in faith and trust. Whatever we have, we give it to you today. Help us to fully surrender and give you full control and authority over our lives. What we have is Yours.

Thanksgiving: Thank you Lord for your faithfulness and mercy. As we read your word today, align our ways with Your ways and tune our hearts to sing your praise.