Jun 3 2023 Reflection
Saturday 3 June 2023
First Reading: Sir 51:12 cd-20
The precepts of the Lord give joy to the heart.
PS 19:8, 9, 10, 11
Gospel Reading: Mk 11:27-33
Today’s Note: Saint Charles Lwanga and Companions, Martyrs
Jesus and his disciples returned once more to Jerusalem.
As he was walking in the temple area,
the chief priests, the scribes, and the elders
approached him and said to him,
“By what authority are you doing these things?
Or who gave you this authority to do them?”
Jesus said to them, “I shall ask you one question.
Answer me, and I will tell you by what authority I do these things.
Was John’s baptism of heavenly or of human origin? Answer me.”
They discussed this among themselves and said,
“If we say, ‘Of heavenly origin,’ he will say,
‘Then why did you not believe him?’
But shall we say, ‘Of human origin’?”–
they feared the crowd,
for they all thought John really was a prophet.
So they said to Jesus in reply, “We do not know.”
Then Jesus said to them,
“Neither shall I tell you by what authority I do these things.”
Do you accept the authority of God’s word and submit to it with trust and obedience? Many religious leaders took offense at Jesus because they could not accept his authority as coming from God. After Jesus had dramatically cleansed the temple of the traders and money-changers, the Jewish leaders question Jesus to trap him. If he says his authority is divine they will charge him with blasphemy. If he has done this on his own authority they might well arrest him as a mad zealot before he could do more damage.
Jesus’ authority to speak and act in his Father’s name
Jesus, seeing through their trap, poses a question to them and makes their answer a condition for his answer. Did they accept the work of John the Baptist as divine or human? If they accepted John’s work as divine, they would be compelled to accept Jesus as the Messiah. John, a true prophet of God, had in fact attested to Jesus as the Son of God and Messiah who would redeem his people from their sins. The Jewish authorities dodged the question because they were unwilling to face the truth. They did not accept the Baptist and they would not accept Jesus as their Messiah. Jesus told his followers, “if you continue in my word… you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free” (John 8:31-32).
The truth will make you free
The Lord Jesus poses the same question to us today. Do you accept the claim of Jesus – that the Father in heaven sent his only begotten Son into the world to set us free from slavery to sin and to give us eternal life (John 3:16-18). Many want to mold Jesus to their own way of thinking and preferences and to reject or ignore whatever is disagreeable to them. Jesus came to give us the greatest freedom possible – freedom from ignorance, deception, and sin, and the freedom to live as sons and daughters of God in the power of the Holy Spirit. Do you know the joy and freedom of living according to God’s word of truth, joy, and eternal life?
Lord Jesus, your word is life and truth. Instruct my heart that I may grow in the knowledge of your truth and live according to your word.