Dec 14 2020 Reflection
Monday 14 December 2020
First Reading: NM 24:2-7, 15-17A
Teach me your ways, O Lord.
PS 25:4-5AB, 6 AND 7BC, 8-9
Gospel Reading: MT 21:23-27
Today’s Note: Memorial of Saint John of the Cross, priest and doctor of the Church
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.”
Where was John’s baptism from? (Matthew 21:25)
This should have been a joyful encounter. But when the chief priests and elders in Jerusalem approached Jesus and questioned his authority, they were already on the wrong road. Somewhere they took a wrong turn that kept them from accepting that Jesus was their Messiah. They considered Jesus, who had upset the money changers and captured the admiration of the people, as an obstacle to true piety. Their challenge, “By whose authority?” revealed how deeply they were opposed to Jesus (Matthew 21:23). And when he answered with a question of his own—about John the Baptist—it wasn’t an evasive maneuver but an invitation to go back to where they had lost their way.
John had come preaching repentance to prepare the people for their Messiah. He spent his life inviting people to turn back to God. He was like a fork in the road: once you heard his message, you knew you had to choose which way you would go. So when the elders sparred with Jesus in the Temple three years later, they showed that they had already closed their hearts to him. Having heard John’s preaching in the wilderness, they chose the wrong path—the path of unbelief and opposition (John 1:19-28).
If you ever find yourself missing out on the joy and peace of Christ, take it as an invitation to recalculate your route. Where or when did you lose sight of Jesus, the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world? How did you wander from John’s urgent yet hope-filled call to repentance? Then make the decision to turn back.
Modern GPS devices usually have a pleasant voice that tells you when you missed a turn and how to get back on the right road. The Holy Spirit can be your guide if you ask him. In his own distinct voice, he will lead you back to Jesus. He may even take you back to the message of John the Baptist so that you can turn from sin and turn back to Jesus. It’s never too late to begin again. Jesus died and rose to save you. Even if you have been traveling on the wrong road for a long time, the Spirit can get you back quickly. You can get there from here!
“Come, Holy Spirit! Show me where I have veered off the road to heaven.”