Menu Close

Pastor’s Corner 1.28.2024

Sincere & Powerful

Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,

In today’s Gospel passage we hear the people exclaim how Jesus “taught them as one having authority and not as the scribes.” What does it mean to teach with authority?

At one level we understand teaching with authority to mean that the person has the correct credentials or permissions to teach what they teach. In the case of science, it is one who has the necessary education, experience and scientific evidence to ground their teaching. When it comes to the official teaching of the Church such authority comes from the delegation by Jesus. He told his apostles, “as the Father sent me, so I send you.” He told the apostles to “go and make disciples of all nations…” and he told them to “teach all that I have commanded you…” So, the bishops of the Church teach with the authority granted them by Jesus himself.

But in another sense, teaching with authority has to do with preaching from the heart. The Greek word used for authority is ἐξουσίαν (exousian), which means out of one’s being or out of one’s substance. In other words, it means to speak out of personal experience, out of some kind of encounter and not just repeating doctrines or the talking points of others. The scribes mentioned in the passage were well known from quoting from one another or citing someone else’s statements.

Now of course it is appropriate to quote passages from the Sacred Scriptures for those texts themselves are authoritative. The doctrines of the Church also carry authority given by the Lord to his Church. But Jesus’ words were recognized by his listeners as coming from one who spoke the truth of who he was and what he knew. His words were sincere and powerful.

So often Catholics say that they are afraid to evangelize because they don’t know what to say; “I’m not well versed in Scripture,” they claim. While knowledge of God’s word is important, the best evangelization comes from the heart. What has been your experience of Jesus in prayer or in your life’s walk. How has Jesus touched you? Share that along with whatever you know of Church teaching and you too will be speaking with authority.

Sincerely yours in Christ Jesus, the Way, the Truth and the Life,