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Using a bit of psychology, we can identify two types of authority. The first type of authority emanates from the person. Therefore, following this, the examples of persons of authority are parents, policemen, and priests. There is authority in these persons on account of who they are. Whether you like me or not, I am a priest and have authority as a priest. Whether your parents are beautiful or ugly, they are still your parents, and you cannot deny that they have authority over you. Whether the policeman is honest or corrupt, they have the authority to enforce the law. That is the first type of authority – the authority that comes with the person.

There is a second kind of authority. This one comes with expertise. You can speak about an authority on Shakespeare, on business, on arts, on music. This person’s authority comes with experience, with knowledge. This authority is not given from above but springs from within. The first kind of authority is given from above because of the person’s role in life, his or her title. The second type of authority comes from within, and it inspires people. It edifies people and makes them trust others. This second kind of authority inspires followers.

You come across people, for example, who never went to school and yet from the person’s face, read a lifetime of experience and a wealth of knowledge. You are drawn to this type of person because you want to be in touch with God.

These are the two types of authority: authority that comes with a person, and authority that comes from within a person.

The Scribes in the Gospel have authority because of their persons. They are like parents, policemen, and priests. They have authority because of their role in society. But Jesus does not have that kind of authority imposed on him. And yet, listen to the comment of the Jews. They are spellbound by how he speaks with authority, unlike the Scribes. He talks with a certain type of power that does not have to rub itself in. He talks with a power that emanates from within and does not need explanation or rationalization.

We all know leaders who have to defend, protect, and project their authority for people to follow them. That in order for us to follow them, they will have to explain themselves first and convince us why they are leaders. They have to enumerate their degrees and accomplishments because these are not readily evident in their speech and demeanor. You come across people like that.

Those are not the kind of people of authority that we ask the Lord to send to our community. I’d like you to look around-heart-to-heart, spirit-to-spirit, soul-to-soul. And let your hearts, your spirit and your souls go in search of these people of authority. They are not necessarily popular, eloquent, educated, or famous. Let us look for the community members whose authority dwells within, whose authority springs forth to inspire people, to lead them. If authority comes from God, it is not something that is imposed on the people. If authority truly comes from God, you will see it, you will recognize it.

Let us ask the Lord to bless our community with such leaders of authority and spiritual power.

Mk 7:1-6
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