Monday, September 5, 2016

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Luke 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.

At the time of Christ, exorcist was a common profession. These exorcists expelled demons by invoking the name of a greater demon. They carried lists of names which they would use to do their profession and they were a highly guarded trade secret. Along comes Jesus and he doesn’t invoke greater demons. He doesn’t use names. He uses his authority. Of course, the competition of the day believes he doesn’t need to use names because he himself is a greater, if not the greatest of demons.

Throughout history all kinds of atrocities have been committed, “In the name of God.” Today we have millions of people who preach, “In the name of Jesus.” We are surrounded by pastors, ministers, and TV evangelists who speak with an authority not given to them. The sin of Eve was taking something God did not wish to give. This is the same sin committed by those who lead flocks with an authority taken and not given to them.

The leadership of the Catholic Church is based upon the concept of Apostolic Succession. Jesus passed his authority on to his chosen Twelve by the laying on of hands and breathing into them the Holy Spirit. The Twelve passes that authority on to their successors in like fashion. Every priest and deacon of the Catholic Church who has been properly ordained can trace the authority they have to complete their vocation all the way back to Jesus himself in an unbroken chain of Apostolic Succession.

I cannot come to your house and demand you open the door by the authority of the FBI. I have not been given such authority. Beware those who appear to speak in the name of God and Jesus. Question where they have gotten their authority to do so. The devil is a cunning adversary and uses the appearance of authority to gain trust before leading people away. False authority is easy to spot when the person using it teaches something contrary to official Church teaching. Anyone who teaches contrary to Church teaching is a false prophet without real authority.

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