Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Motivation

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In the first reading from Deuteronomy 18:15-20, God calls Moses to be a prophet who speaks to his own people for God. The words of Moses to the Israelites are to be the words of God. Moses is motivated to be the voice of God and not believe that his own words were what the people should hear.

Paul tells the followers of Christ in Corinth (1 Corinthians 7:32-35) that they should not be anxious but are to “promote good order and unhindered devotion to the Lord.” Paul realizes that husbands and wives have concern for each other but the core motivation for all they do should be their relationship with God.

In the gospel reading from Mark 1:21-28, we find Jesus teaching in the synagogue on the Sabbath. The people there “were astounded at his teaching, for he taught them as one having authority.” While he was teaching, there was a man with an unclean spirit present. The unclean spirit recognizes Jesus as the Holy One of God. Jesus silences the unclean spirit and commands it to come out of the man who is cured and the people present are amazed. Jesus does not claim fame for himself, but rather, does the will of God. He never uses his divine nature for himself. He always acts out of compassion and concern for those he encounters along the way.

In all the three readings today, motivation plays an important role. Whether a person is single, married, a priest or in vowed religious life, Jesus is the model who always acts not for himself, but is motivated to preach, teach and heal for those who need him.

We need to ask ourselves how authentic we are regarding the decisions we make. What is our motivation? Is our motivation leading us to do the right thing for the right reason or is our motivation to seek self-aggrandizement, selfish gain, notoriety, etc.? Or is the motivation for our words and actions based on the high standard of following the way Jesus lived his life, especially the way he treated everyone with whom he came in contact? Being a Christian calls for us to live in such a way that our motivations are for the right reason and not for selfish reasons. Are we good people for the right reasons or are we just mediocre people because of the wrong reasons? 

How would you describe your motivation for the way you live your life on a daily basis?

What is the underlying reason for your motivations?

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