The first reading is a promise made by God to the Israelites of the coming of a prophet alike Moses. This prophet would be chosen from among their people and would speak with divine authority, relaying God’s messages as it is significant in maintaining the relationship between God and the Israelites. It stresses the importance of compliance to this prophetic figure, suggesting that listening to the prophet is of the essence. A divine retribution is the consequence for those who disregard and ignore these messages spoken by the prophet. Moreover, the passage sheds light on genuine prophets, empowered by God to speak in His name, and false prophets who claim misleading divine authority.

The second reading addresses the contrast in priorities between those who are married and those who are unmarried, in terms of their devotion to the Lord. It suggests that unmarried individuals have the advantage of focusing solely on pleasing the Lord without additional concerns such as pleasing a spouse. Unmarried men and women can dedicate themselves in body and spirit to service God. The reading acknowledges that marriage naturally divides one’s attention into spiritual and worldly obligations. The intention isn’t to restrict individuals, but rather to illustrate the dynamics of priorities in different life situations. It encourages undivided devotion to the Lord, recognizing that while marriage is honorable, it comes with added responsibilities that compete with spiritual focus.

In Gospel, Jesus enters the synagogue and astounds the people with his teaching, carrying authority that differs from the traditional teachings. The encounter with the possessed man reveals Jesus power, not only in his teachings but also in his ability to command and exorcise impurities of the world. His stern command for the spirit to leave and the immediate obedience by the spirit roots Jesus as someone with unmatched authority through his command on spiritual forces. The people witness a teaching backed by an authority that exceeds human understanding, spreading the news of Jesus and his extraordinary abilities throughout the region.

By Genevieve Tay