Who Speaks With Authority?

Thursday of the Fourth Week in Ordinary Time

1 Kings 2: 1-4, 10-12; Mark 6: 7-13

Dc. Larry Brockman

I couldn’t help but notice some common threads between our Old Testament reading and the Gospel.  In both cases, authority was delegated by the principal.  David delegated his authority to Solomon; and Jesus delegated his authority to the Apostles.  In both cases, Kings delegated their authority- the righteous King of Israel, David; and Christ the King.

The delegations carry with them some important advice.  David tells his son to always, always, obey the law of God.  Jesus tells his disciples to preach repentance; meaning that the folks in the towns they visited needed to mend their lives in accordance with the law of God.

However, there are some differences as well.  David’s delegation of authority carried the full weight of the government.  After all, he was the earthly King of Israel.  Jesus delegation of authority was totally outside either the political or religious governing bodies.  Jesus was heralding a “new way of living”.  Jesus was asking folks, through the “Church” he was forming to convert the minds and hearts of the people to repent , without the legal weight of the government.

Just who should we listen to these days?  The Government?  The media?  Charismatic  self-proclaimed experts?  Information and pundits are prolific in our society.  All of us have access to hundreds of TV and Radio Stations;  an infinite resource of information sources over the Internet; and more books, periodicals, and other written sources than one can imagine.  And lots of the information we hear conflicts.  Political commentators conflict on root causes of problems and there are many views on moral standards because of the acceptance of pluralistic views on religion, all of which vie for our time and claim to have the truth, the answer to what life is all about.  Just who should we listen to?

The answer rests in what real authority is.  The root meaning of authority in this sense of the word is simply this:  They were given power by the legitimate source of power.  David was the King of God’s chosen people, the people of God in the Old Testament.  Jesus is Christ the King, the King of all mankind in the New Covenant.  Jesus has the legitimate power to delegate, and his message is pure and unencumbered by earthly corruption.  The Apostles didn’t assume this power; they were given this power by Jesus.  So, the message was not their message; it was God’s message.

Now, the Apostles were told not to take anything extra.  In other words, they weren’t bringing their own message forward; and they weren’t asking for anything of material value in return for it.  They were neutral; they had nothing personal to gain.  They were messengers who were simply following God’s will for them.  They had the simplest and most pure motivation, their enthusiasm for the message of Jesus.  Lastly, they had faith, great faith- the kind of faith that David speaks about in his parting words on his deathbed.  David told Solomon to always, always obey the Lord in all things, never questioning the law.  That takes tremendous faith.    And because they had these simple characteristics- faith, authority, and purity of purpose; they were able to work wonders as they moved through the people, driving away unclean spirits, curing the lame, and healing the sick.

In the politically correct, pluralistic , secular society in which we live  Who should we listen to?  Our government? Wikipedia? The latest silver tongued “feel-good” preacher?   Or do we listen to people who are like the Apostles that Jesus sent out.  The choice is yours.  As for me, I’ll stay with the Church.


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