Holy One of God

Reflection on the Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time (January 29)

By Mary Traupman

The readings for this Sunday: Dt 18:15-20; Ps95:1-2, 6-9; 1Cor 7:32-35; Mk 1:21-28

The full text of the readings can be found here.


A number of years ago, I heard a very touching eulogy at the funeral of a friend. His son-in-law spoke of all the names by which my friend was known, such as father, father-in-law, husband, grandfather, lawyer, friend. Remembering this, I found it easy to reflect on "name" when I reflected on the readings for the Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time.

In Mark’s Gospel we find many different names for Jesus: Son of Man, Master, Son of the Most High God, carpenter, prophet, Rabbi, king of the Jews.

In Chapter 1 of Mark, John the Baptist names Jesus, "One mightier than I." A voice from the heavens names Jesus, "You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased."

In the Gospel text for this Sunday, Jesus was teaching as one having authority, and the people who were present acknowledged that he taught with authority and commanded the unclean spirits who obeyed him.

The most striking name given to Jesus is sandwiched between these 2 descriptions of Jesus as "teacher." A demon cried out: "I know who you are--the Holy One of God!" The demon, who possessed a man, recognized and understood the person and the power of Jesus. The demon identified Jesus as the holy one of God. The demon recognized that Jesus was not merely a teacher or healer, but the HOLY ONE OF GOD!

What does holiness look like? How was it that the demon saw Jesus and recognized and acknowledged his holiness? What does holiness NOT look like?

I now find myself thinking back on today, and all the people whom I have encountered, to whom I might say, "I know who you are…" The engineer who smiled and said, "Thank you;" the bus driver who helped the rider with a disability; the judge who was kind to a distraught husband; the teacher who praised her students. Could each of them be named a holy one of God?

Do I reveal the person of God to everyone I encounter? Could anyone justifiably name me, "I know who you are…"?