The other day I was discussing with friends the difficulties of getting our children to obey. That same evening, we read the Gospel reading for today (Mark 1:21-28). In this passage, Jesus teaches the people “as one having authority”. He even commands an unclean spirit to come out of a man and it does. (I’m not exactly sure what an unclean spirit is but I can imagine it might be something like my daughter convulsing on the floor in a tantrum because she doesn’t want to brush her teeth or something.) After we read the scripture I told my friends that we have authority as parents of our children and so we should be able to command their unclean spirits to leave!
We all laughed, but there is truth to this statement. In fact, when my daughter begins to challenge me and tell me I’m not her boss, for instance, I will remind her of this truth. God picked me to be her mom and so I have been given the authority to raise her in the way I believe is right. Having authority doesn’t mean I have complete power and control over my children. As our priest said in his homily today, Jesus spoke with authority because he lived with integrity. Jesus spoke words of love and his actions revealed that love. As a parent, I am called to follow this example. Only then will my words have any lasting influence. When I practice loving authority, my children will learn to not only trust and even obey me, but to trust and obey their loving parent in Heaven.