December 13th, 2021

The Gospel according to 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.”

Reflection: We are all “creatures of habit”. We have a tendency to do things the same way, at the same time, and at the same place. We are not open to change and have a hard time making changes because it normally refers to new beginnings. We will normally do anything to keep our old ways from falling apart, yet this is when we need patience and guidance, and the freedom to let go instead of tightening our controls and convictions. While change can force a transformation, spiritual transformation always includes a disconcerting reorientation. It can either help people to find new meaning or it can force people to “close down” and slowly turn bitter. 

This was a bit of a bold move on the part of the chief priests and the elders.  It’s sad that they clearly had an agenda and were clearly agitated by Jesus. Think about that for a moment. Here is Jesus the Eternal Son, teaching the Words of eternal life.  He is in the temple area and the chief priests and elders were agitated by Him.  Jesus spoke with power and authority, and everyone recognized that.  But the chief priests and elders appeared to be angry and envious of Him, calling into question where He received His authority.  This is quite shocking when understood clearly and reveals how far the religious leaders of the time were off track.  They were clearly blind and wouldn’t accept change.  Their challenge of Jesus, in this context, shows that they were not open to the truth and were not open to God’s plan of salvation.  Instead, they were filled with self-centeredness, pride and envy.  

Action of the Day: Take a moment and reflect upon the purification to which God may be calling you. Asking you to make a change. What is it that you are holding onto that He wants you to change?

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