Sunday, December 15, 2019
MONDAY, 3rd Week of Advent
[Misa de Gallo, with Gloria, White]
Nm 24: 2 – 7, 15 – 17a / Mt 21: 23 – 27
FROM THE 1ST READING: Nm 24: 15 – 17
Then Balaam pronounced his oracle: "Word of Balaam, son of Beor, the seer, the one who hears the words of God, who has knowledge from the Most High, and sees the vision of the Almighty, in ecstasy, with eyes unveiled. I see a figure, but not really. I behold him but not near. A star shall come forth from Jacob, he rises with a staff in his hand; he shatters the forehead of Moab and tears down all the sons of Sheth.
GOSPEL READING: Mt 21: 23 – 27
Jesus had entered the Temple and was teaching, when the chief priests, the teachers of the Law and the Jewish authorities came to him, and asked, "What authority have you to act like this? Who gave you authority to do all this?"
Jesus answered them, "I will also ask you a question, only one. And if you give me an answer, then I will tell you by what authority I do these things. When John began to baptize, was it a work of God, or was it merely something human?"
They reasoned out among themselves, "If we reply that it was a work of God, he will say, 'Then why did you not believe him?' And if we say, 'The baptism of John was merely something human,' beware of the people, since all hold John as a prophet." So they answered Jesus, "We do not know." And Jesus said to them, "Neither will I tell you by what right I do these things.."
In the first reading the prophet Balaam prophesies the coming of the star of Jacob: at the Annunciation to Mary the angel Gabriel tells Mary that the Son she is to bear "will rule over the people of Jacob forever and his reign will have no end." (Lk 1: 32b – 33)
In the Gospel reading today, the chief priests and the elders of the people questioned Jesus, "What authority have you for acting like this?" Jesus replied with another question, "When John began to baptize, was it a work of God, or was it merely something human?" The chief priests and elders decided to play it safe and answered the question of Jesus saying they did not know: they refused to commit themselves for fear of the people who loved and believed in John the Baptist and for fear of being exposed in their refusal to believe in Jesus.
If they said that John's baptism was a work of God, they would have to answer why they did not believe in John's baptism. But if they said that John's baptism was merely human, they would antagonize so many who believed that John's baptism was God's work.
How much of the hypocritical chief priests and elders of the Jews do we find in ourselves and in our beliefs and decisions? How afraid are we of the censure and opinion of others? How afraid are we to declare univocally for the Lord?
FINALLY, we pray for one another, for those who have asked our prayers and for those who need our prayers the most.
Have a good day!
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