Readings for Monday December 14, 2009
Memorial of Saint John of the Cross, priest and doctor of the Church
First Reading: Numbers 24:2-7, 15-17
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 25
Gospel: Matthew 21:23-27
When Jesus had come into the temple area, the chief priests and the elders of the people approached him as he was teaching and said, “By what authority are you doing these things? And who gave you this authority?” Jesus said to them in reply, “I shall ask you one question, and if you answer it for me, then I shall tell you by what authority I do these things. Where was John’s baptism from? Was it of heavenly or of human origin?” They discussed this among themselves and said, “If we say ‘Of heavenly origin,’ he will say to us, ‘Then why did you not believe him?’ But if we say, ‘Of human origin,’ we fear the crowd, for they all regard John as a prophet.” So they said to Jesus in reply, “We do not know.” He himself said to them, “Neither shall I tell you by what authority I do these things.” (Mt 21:23-27)
Isn't it amazing how God just doesn't swoop in and fix all of our problems and answer all of our questions, but rather helps us work out situations and helps us to find the right answers in His time? As frustrating as it is sometimes, I am glad that God doesn't just give me the answers to my problems, but He rather patiently takes me through the answer with prayer. I know when I am facing a difficult decision, and I take it to prayer God slowly begins to unravel the answer and helps me see it the way I should see it. By helping me work through a problem, I grow a lot more, much more than the times when I just make a quick decision based on what I think is best or what I want.
I find it amazing that in today's gospel, Jesus was trying to help the religious leaders find the correct answer by asking them a question. But by their response, it is clear that they are not interested in the truth, and they are not interested in learning what God has to teach them, for their response is purely a political one, and not one of those who are seeking the truth. Had they answered that John's baptism is of heavenly origin, (which it is clear that they knew, but just didn't want to look foolish) then that would have been a teachable moment for them. Jesus could have went on to tell them that all things come from God, and that the same origin of John's baptism is also the origin of His authority ... our Heavenly Father. But sadly this is not how the religious leaders responded to Jesus, and by not responding with humility and the heart of a learner, they were denied the answer and God's truth.
Jesus has something to teach each day, how will you respond to Him? I pray that each one of us is willing to humble ourselves and to take on the heart of a learner, instead of a hardened heart that is unwilling to listen.
Father above, we thank you and praise you for the gift of this day. Lord, please increase our faith and our hope in you so that we will humble ourselves as your children. Lord, help us to do your will in this life and to be the people that you created us to be. We pray for all those in need of conversion and all those who are suffering in this world. We ask this all through Christ our Lord. Amen.