By the Skin of Our Teeth

"They were astonished at His teaching"

Mark 1:22
Deuteronomy 18:15-20; Psalm 95:1-2,6-9; I Corinthians 7:32-35; Mark 1:21-28

At a large University graduation exercise, the University President rose to address the graduates and confer the degrees. He began by explaining the meaning of the traditional Latin phrases used …

If a student graduates “Cum Laude,” it means “With Honors.” If a student graduates “Magna Cum Laude,” it means “With High Honors.” If a student graduates “Summa Cum Laude,” it means “With Supreme Honors.” Then he said, “There’s a new one I plan to use in the future that doesn’t sound at all like the regular honors. I call it “Magna Cute Dentium,” which means “By the skin of your teeth.” -1

Today’s Gospel episode takes place at the beginning of Jesus’ public ministry. Jesus had called Simon, Andrew, James, and John to discipleship. Mark tells us, “Immediately on the Sabbath He entered the synagogue and taught” (Mk. 1:21). And we get the definite impression that Jesus’ first-time listeners felt like they barely understood His teaching — as though they would pass His test…

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