You know when you see empty words. A celebrity issues a half-hearted apology for an indiscretion caught on videotape. A grade school student offers made-up excuses for incomplete homework. Someone is not being completely straightforward, and it puts us on alert. If they keep on acting this way, we find it hard to take seriously anything they say.
This is the exact opposite of how the people in the synagogue had reacted after they heard Jesus teach. He was the real deal! There was no evasion or beating around the bush. There was no fear of how the people might react to him. They could tell that he meant what he said and that he said exactly what he meant. With humble, simple clarity, he spoke about the kingdom of God.
With authority (Mark 1:27). That’s how Jesus speaks to our hearts as well. Not with the false authority of a bully trying to scare us into submission. No, he speaks with the humble authority of a Messiah motivated by nothing but love for us. It’s the authority that a person displays when helping a close friend through a difficult time—talking gently whenever possible, but firmly if necessary, and always with respect and affection. When Jesus speaks to us this way, his words sink into our hearts, and we know he is speaking out of love.
Jesus wants to speak to you with authority at Mass today. He doesn’t want to bully you or push you or overpower you. He doesn’t want to trick you or deceive you or give you empty promises. No, he wants to stir your heart, kindle your hope, and give you his peace. So come to Mass eager and willing to hear him.