Wellspring of Scripture


Year B: 4th Sunday in Ordinary Time

First Reading: Deuteronomy 18: 15-20


The First Reading complements the Gospel by elaborating on what speaking with authority means.

Moses had spoken to Pharaoh and led the people through all their trials and triumphs in the wilderness. When he had first been called by God, he had protested that he would not be able to do it. He said that he was slow of speech - which may suggest that he had a speech impediment - and he did not know how he could convince anyone that he really was speaking words from God.


God saw no reason to change His mind and assured Moses that He would give him the words to say - and the authority which would ensure that people did listen.


It worked - because he convinced the Hebrew people that he was commissioned by God - and had found words and actions that had held the people together in the face of overwhelming difficulties.


Throughout the Old Testament times, God raised up individuals who would continue this work of speaking and acting in His name. They would hear the words that God spoke and tell the people. Sadly, they did not always respect their words - many prophets suffered in their attempts to get across a message that the people all too often did not want to hear.


God insists that people are accountable for their choice - whether to hear and take note - or to reject what they hear. In the Gospel, people heard Jesus speak with authority. Some recognised where that authority came from and listened to His words - even spirits who were in league with the devil had to respect them....Others chose to reject or simply ignore them.


The choice was theirs - but it was a choice for which God would hold them accountable.


What does it mean for me?

How can we discern who speaks of God - and who might be false prophets?

How do we understand and respond to authority in our own day?

2006 Wellspring

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