Fourth Sunday in Ordinary time
Those of us of a certain age remember a parade of television shows in which actors played the part of doctors, dispensing helpful advice dealing with the care of broken arms and broken hearts. A brief litany of such doctors would include Alex Stone from the Dona Reed show, Marcus Welby, and the hijinks pair from MASH. Frequently, these actors would turn their skills to providing advice on advertising, from everting to aspirin, to home loan agencies, basing their credentials on the premise that a professional in one field perhaps has something to say in another—even though their professional abilities were based on the illusion of acting. The fact these actors could and did convince people points to a human weakness we have in terms of accepting at face value that which should demand a bit more scrutiny.
Today’s gospel speaks of how the crowds recognized the authority of Jesus. His authority came not from a role but rather from actions that grew from a relationship with his Heavenly Father. Those who witnessed his miracles and heard his teaching identified the authority of Jesus as not some piece of acting but rather as something that reflected a greater truth. The identification of Jesus as a true authority in today’s readings reminds us to examine those whom we give the credit and title of authority and to look also at what “authorities” influence our lives.