Readings for Monday December 13, 2010
Memorial of Saint Lucy, virgin and martyr
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)
In today's gospel the religious leaders confront Jesus asking where His authority comes from. Jesus decides that He will tell them if they can answer His question. After being asked, they tell Him that they do not know the answer; showing that they cannot speak with authority. Since they were unwilling to share their authority with Jesus, neither was He willing to share His with them. Through all of the many confrontations that Jesus had with the religious leaders, He always had a way of reducing them to silence; or asking them questions they did not understand or couldn't answer. When reading about situations like this, we might tend to be swelled with pride and say in our heads, "Wow Jesus! You sure got em good with that one!" While these situations certainly put the scribes and pharisees in their place, they are meant to show us that Jesus came with the authority of God.
The religious leaders of the time did not believe in who Jesus was, therefore they did not accept the authority that He had. We are very blessed to have this special insight into the gospels and to see it from an outsiders perspective. It is important for us to remember that Jesus was God in the flesh, who came to teach, preach, heal, and save; all with God's authority! There is no greater power to be found anywhere, and we should be striving to grow in His love and mercy each day of our lives. Let us pray the words of the psalmists today, "Teach me your ways, O Lord." May the Holy Spirit grant us the fruits that He desires to bring into our lives each day, and may we grow stronger each day in faith, hope, and love.
Father above, we thank you for the gift of this day. We praise you for the many gifts in our lives, and for all that we are capable of. Lord, we offer this day up for you, and for your glory. Lord, you are the source of all that is good and all that is right, help guide us as we continue on our journey of faith in you. We pray for all those who are are seeking you in their lives and all those looking for meaning and purpose, may they find it in you. We ask this all through Christ our Lord. Amen.