View all Gospel Reflections |
Authority and Love Work Together
Saturday of the Eighth Week in Ordinary Time
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.”
Opening Prayer: Lord, I come to you today to praise you and to honor you. You are the king of my life and I thank you for the authority of love you have over me.
- Love and Authority: “By what authority are you doing these things,” the chief priests, the scribes, and the elders asked Jesus. For them, authority meant power and dominion. But for Jesus, authority means a relationship of love, such as between a Father and Son. It is no wonder that Jesus then brought up John’s baptism in response to them. It was through this baptism that “we are reborn as sons of God.” (Catechism of the Catholic Church 1213) When we think of God’s authoritative love, let us remember his character: merciful, gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness (Catechism of the Catholic Church 210).
- Humility to Listen: This wasn’t the first time that the chief priests, the scribes, and the elders heard Jesus speak, but they just couldn’t realize the truth about who Jesus was. They lacked humility. Jesus’s words can never pierce our hearts if we just hear them. We need the trust, simplicity, and humility to listen so we can arrive at the answer and rejoice at knowing and loving the truth our hearts seek.
- Seeking Answers Elsewhere: Here, we saw the chief priests, the scribes, and the elders talking among themselves, looking for answers, when the answer was right in front of them. Sometimes, we do the same thing. When we are confused or distraught, do we lean into our relationship with Jesus and enter into a dialogue with him in our prayer? We know that Jesus is all-knowing and all-powerful and full of love for us, so we can trust that he has the answers to the questions that unsettle our hearts. Why do we ever look elsewhere?
Conversing with Christ: Dear Jesus, help me to surrender my whole life to you more perfectly. Help me to overcome any sin that separates me from you and allow me to grow in the certainty that you love me.
Resolution: Lord, today by your grace I will face any decisions I make by first coming to you interiorly in prayer.
For Further Reflection: I will meditate on God’s authoritative love by reading Psalm 100.
Beverly Dalton is a writer and lives in the city of Manila. She also works for a Catholic psychology center, helping out with research studies and programs for the poor. When she is not busy, she spends time with her mom and sister, and occasionally finds leisure and relaxation in soapmaking as seen in @twosistershome.ph.