Tuesday of the First Week in Ordinary Time
(Hebrews 2:5-12; Mark 1:21-28)
Karl Rahner was one of the greatest theologians of the twentieth century. His ideas provided a synthesis of Thomas Aquinas and contemporary philosophers like Martin Heidegger. Interestingly, Rahner’s books contain few footnotes. Evidently he did not feel the need to validate his ideas by referring to his sources. They were accepted on his own authority. In today’s gospel Jesus is likewise credited for this kind of teaching.
The passage compares Jesus’ teaching with that of the scribes. Where the scribes have to cite many passages to make their case, Jesus’ commentary on Scripture is simple and clear. It impresses the people who can judge authentic wisdom from mere sophistry. Jesus’ outstanding ability is indicated by the passage’s stating twice that he teaches with “authority.”
But we accept Jesus’ teaching for more reason than the fact that he speaks with authority. After all charlatans can move people by their conviction. Jesus’ teaching rings true in the recesses of the human heart. We know deep down that we must love even those who hate us if we are to come close to God. In the Eucharist Jesus draws so close to us that we not only have his truth but feel his strength. He enables us to live with complete integrity.