Daily Gospel Reflection for January 14, 2014



Today’s Gospel: Mark 1:21-28

When I was a little girl, well before the invention of laptops, iPhones, FaceBook, Angry Birds, or Candy Crush Saga, we played games where kids actually interacted. (Insert horrified teen-age gasp.) One game that filled our afternoons was “Captain May I?” (Or some may have called it “Mother May I?”)—a game where one person has all the authority and controls the movements of the others, movements that will ultimately result in the winner reaching the finish line.

As I meditated on today’s Gospel, for some reason memories of that childhood game filled my head. Trust me, the memory of something so childish while reading a Gospel so profound was a surprise to me! (The Holy Spirit loves to keep me on my toes!)

As I initially read the Gospel with the intent of writing this reflection, my heart leapt with joy. I love the deep theological writings on Christ teaching with authority and my mind raced as how to incorporate them. Then, the Holy Spirit took a turn and brought me to the simplicity of a child’s faith.

In today’s Gospel, Jesus enters the synagogue in Capernaum and astonishes the people with his teachings, because “he taught them as one who had authority.” Often times we think of those who have authority as those who have power over others and dictate their every movement. Nothing could be further from the truth when it comes to Christ, the True Authority. 

There is no greater authority than Jesus Christ and there is no humbler servant. “Not my will, but your will be done.” (Luke 22:42) Jesus’ incarnation is the ultimate act of humility—God became man to save humanity, and in this act of utter humility, Jesus uses his true authority to lead us back to the Father. 

It’s like the ultimate game of “Captain May I.” Jesus is a true servant who gently guides us to the goal by showing us what steps to take through Scripture, through prayer, through the Sacraments, through the works of the Holy Spirit.

True authority doesn’t reside in one who dictates, it is the hallmark of one who serves.


Do you lead others to the Father by imitating Christ? When you share Christ with another is your heart truly thinking “how can I best serve this person’s needs” or are you caught up in getting your message across?


Lord, give me the humility to surrender my heart to you that I might hear the needs of others before I speak your truth.

Copyright 2014 Kelly Wahlquist


About Author

Kelly Wahlquist is a dynamic and inspiring Catholic speaker whose gift of weaving personal stories and Scripture together with practical advice allows her audience to enter more fully into what Blessed John Paul II, Pope Emeritus Benedict, and Pope Francis have called us into - to be witnesses of our faith and part of the New Evangelization. She is the Program Manager for the Archbishop Harry J. Flynn Catechetical Institute in the Archdiocese of St. Paul & Minneapolis, co-creator of and speaker for the Hearts Afire Parish-based Programs for the New Evangelization, editor of Catholicism 101 -a program by Jeff Cavins on the basics of Catholicism- and a contributing writer for CatholicMom.com, NewEvangelizers.com, and The Integrated Catholic Life, an eMagazine about integrating faith, family, and work. Kelly has a blog on her website www.KellyWahlquist.com that focuses on that which Pope Francis has called us to—Living the Joy of the Gospel. She, her husband Andy, and their three children live in Minnesota.


  1. “True authority doesn’t reside in one who dictates, it is the hallmark of one who serves.” That statement sums up authority vs power very nicely and reminds us how to live as disciples. Peace.

  2. I love your reflection question about seeking to find the needs of others above getting our message across. Unless we seek to fill their needs, we are only serving ourselves, and isn’t THAT a scary thought! Keep your beautiful writing coming, Kelly!

    • Thanks for your comment Catherine. Keeping in mind the needs of the other when sharing the faith is something I had to learn to do. Sometime in our excitement to share the Truth we can concentrate so much on getting to the heart of the message and forget the heart of the one we are speaking to.



  3. Beautiful! I love it when the Holy Spirit sends you sliding head-long into a place you never inteded to go! Thanks to you…I’ll do my best to play a day long game of “Jesus May I” perhaps if I ask Him first, I’ll end up crawling in bed tonight with much less to ask forgiveness for! Blessings on your day!

  4. Did you write this just for me Kelly? “True authority doesn’t reside in one who dictates, it is the hallmark of one who serves.” What a beautiful message for mothers, but really for all of us. And your ponder question has me thinking about any hidden agendas I may have in my work. What a gift this gospel is. Thanks!

    • Amen sister! As a mom who serves and serves and serves, no wonder the game is sometimes called, “Mother, May I?” Ha Ha But it is nice to know that doing that 10th load of laundry or wiping that runny nose is giving you authority 🙂



  5. Hey, that’s the prayer of Pope Francis for the new cardinals too. See Dcn Tom…. you could be pope! 🙂 …. though not sure Dee would go for that. ha ha

    Blessings to you both!


Leave A Reply

Notify me of followup comments via e-mail. You can also subscribe without commenting.