When Jesus preached to the people of Capernaum, they encountered him as one who "spoke with authority" (Lk 4). There are many ways of speaking with authority, but today's Gospel passage makes clear that Jesus has the authority not only to reveal reality but to shape reality with his word. This same power would be given to the Apostles and other disciples in later chapters, indicating that the power to heal, to cast out evil, and to speak in his name is a common heritage of all Christian disciples. It is the Holy Spirit who ultimately gives to disciples the power to rightly exercise this "creative authority", however, since only the Holy Spirit can know what is the will of God in its fullness (1 Cor 2). This makes the life of prayer, study, and community essential to Christian life, the means through which disciples receive the direction and discernment necessary to guide them in their own spiritual authority in the world.
-Given at the St. Thomas More Chapel (UST-Minneapolis) on September 1, 2020