Monday, December 15, 2014

Advent Reflection: Matthew 21:23-27

Third Monday of Advent – Matthew 21:23-27

The setting for today’s Gospel is the temple. When Jesus entered the temple, the elders and chief priests approached Him. They immediately began questioning Him. They asked Him who it was that gave Him authority to heal and preach?

Instead of answering their questions, Jesus turns the table on the elders and priests by asking them where they believed John’s baptism was from? Did they believe it was from heaven or did they think it was of human origin? The elders and priests were in a quandary. They realized that if they said they believed that John’s baptism was from heaven, Jesus then might ask them: “why didn’t you believe John?” However, if they told Jesus that they did not believe in John’s baptism, Jesus then would ask them why they did not believe that John was the man “sent by God to testify to the truth?”

Can you imagine the frustration, fear and anger the elders and priests experienced? They were in a quandary! No matter how they answered, they would be in an awkward position. The temple officials were silent for a time. Finally one of them answered and simply said: “We do not know.” In turn, Jesus responds by refusing to tell them where His authority came from.

What do we believe? Do we sincerely and honestly say we believe in Jesus? How deep is our belief in Jesus? Or do we believe simply because we were taught to believe? Or do we believe because we have had personal experiences of Jesus? The danger is: we may become complacent or even lax in our belief! Advent is a wonderful season to ask: What do I believe? Who is Jesus to me? What will be your answer?

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