As I read today’s readings the word authority keeps jumping out at me. There is an underlying theme of authority present in the readings this week and today we read in the gospel that Jesus summons the twelve disciples and gives them authority over unclean spirits to drive them out and to cure every disease and every illness. Notice that it says every disease and every illness.
Then he summoned his twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits to drive them out and to cure every disease and every illness. Matthew 10:1
In Genesis this morning, we read about Joseph who has been given authority as governor of the country and he can distribute the grain as he wishes. Yesterday, it was Jacob who was given authority over his people and becomes known as Israel. Before that it was Abram who was given authority over the people and becomes Abraham. Throughout, the history of the world God has given authority to men to help shepherd his people.
Jesus, before his passion, gives special authority to Peter to lead the Church. This continues through apostolic succession to this very day. This special authority is not given to all but only to a certain few. As a people, we often struggle with the authority given to others. There were probably some who resented that Jesus gave his disciples authority to cure disease and drive out demons. For the disciples to be able to do this, though, they had to submit to the authority of Jesus and believe that He had the right and was able to give this authority to them.
How does this authority play out for us in our daily lives? As Catholics, we trust in the authority of the Church to guide us in how to live our lives in accordance with the Gospel, contained in Scripture and the Tradition of the Church. There are some teachings of the Church that I struggle with from time to time but I pray that I might align myself more closely to Jesus and His Church rather than praying that the Church will align itself with me.
In a year and a half, God willing, I will be ordained a deacon in the Church. As part of the ordination, I will promise obedience to the Bishop. Most people I talk to have at least a small issue with this. But I remember that Jesus was able to do great things through the disciples because they submitted to his authority. The early church was able to thrive because other trusted and believed in the authority that was given to the apostles. And so, I will trust in the authority given to the Bishop through apostolic succession. I must trust that Bishop as a good shepherd wills nothing but the best for me.
My daughter, Mary will be leaving at the end of August to enter into religious formation with the Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist. She will take a vow of obedience. In that vow, she will submit to the authority of the church and to the order. This is a beautiful act of trusting in the Lord’s goodness and trusting in the leaders of this beautiful community. It is through submitting to this obedience and authority that we will find true freedom, the freedom of being adopted sons and daughters of God. Please visit their website to learn more.
If you would like to assist Mary in her vocation, we would ask first and foremost that you pray for her and all of the young women(16!) entering the order this year. If you would like to write a note of encouragement to Mary, you can email her at email@example.com. Finally, if you feel called to help Mary financially, please let us know and we can make arrangements or you can help support the mission of the sisters through their Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist website.