Daily Meditation: "What authority do you have to act like this?"
Gospel text (Mc 11,27-33):
They were once again in Jerusalem. As Jesus was walking in the Temple, the chief priests, the teachers of the Law and the elders came to him and asked, "What authority do you have to act like this? Who gave you authority to do the things you do?". Jesus said to them, "I will ask you a question, only one, and if you give me an answer, then I will tell you what authority I have to act like this. Was John's preaching and baptism a work of God, or was it merely something human? Answer me".
And they kept arguing among themselves, "If we answer that it was a work of God, He will say: ‘Why then did you not believe him?’". But neither could they answer before the people that the baptism of John was merely something human, for everyone regarded John as a prophet. So they answered Jesus, "We don't know", and Jesus said to them, "Neither will I tell you what authority I have to act as I do".
"What authority do you have to act like this?"
Today, the Gospel is asking us to think what our intentions are when we go to meet Jesus. Some go without faith, without recognizing His authority: this is why, the chief priests, the teachers of the Law and the elders came to him and asked, "What authority do you have to act like this? Who gave you authority to do the things you do?" (Mk 11:27-28).
If our prayers do not turn to God, we have no faith. But, as St. Gregory the Great says, "when we vehemently stand fast on prayer, Jesus halts to restitute the light because God stops in the heart which recovers the light it had lost". If we have a good disposition, even if we are mistaken, believing the other person to be right, we shall welcome his words. If our intentions are good, even if we drag the weight of sin, when we pray, God will help us understand our misery, so that we can reconcile with Him, and may ask with all our heart his forgiveness through the Sacrament of Penance.
Faith and prayer go together. St. Augustine tells us "if faith is lacking, prayer is impossible. So, when we pray, let us believe and pray so faith is not lacking us. Faith produces prayer, and prayer, in turn, produces the strengthening of the faith". If our intentions are good, and we turn to Jesus, we shall discover who is He and will understand his word, when He asks us: "Was John's preaching and baptism a work of God, or was it merely something human?" (Mk 11:30). Through the faith we know it was a work of God, and that His authority comes by way of his Father, who is God, and by Himself, for He is the second Person of the Blessed Trinity.
And because we know Jesus is the only savior of the world, we turn to his Mother who is also our Mother, so that we may receive Jesus' words and life, with good intention and good will, to relish in the peace and joy of the sons of God.
Fr. Antoni BALLESTER i Díaz
(Camarasa, Lleida, Spain)
Audio: Saturday 8th in Ordinary Time