Jesus asserts His authority by refusing to answer the Jewish leaders’ question about His authority. Every Catholic man can grow in happiness by building the Virtue of Obedience so he can more consistently submit himself to Jesus in all things and by seeking the Gift of Knowledge from the Holy Spirit so he can conform his life to the truths of Christ’s Holy Catholic Church.
3rd Week of Advent – Monday – Mt 21:23-27
As the authority of Jesus becomes widely proclaimed, He revealed His divine authority to forgive sins, asserted His authority by entering Jerusalem like a king, and demonstrated His authority by violently clearing the Temple of sacrilege against the Father, where merchants had moved in to sell animals for sacrifice and money-changers exchanged currency for the Temple tax. As Jesus specifically predicted, the Jewish priests, scribes and elders have decided to kill Him, and will now attempt to build their case by trying to prove Jesus is acting without any authority.
Prompted by Jesus’ forceful clearing of the Temple, the Jewish priests, scribes, and elders confront Him in the Temple about the source of His words and acts of authority. Ironically, Jesus is the Temple (Jn 2:19) and, as the Son sent by the Father (Mk 1:11), has divine authority, while the Jewish leaders have been only delegated authority from Jesus, a Person of the Trinity.
Rather than answer the questions of the Jewish leaders, Jesus re-asserts His authority by demanding that they answer His question first. Jesus’ brilliant question about the source of John the Baptist’s authority forces the Jewish leaders to publicly confirm they think John is not a true prophet: if they answer “heaven”, they are guilty of rebellion against God; if they answer “from man”, they will cause chaos because the multitudes believed John was given authority from “heaven.” Asserting His authority, Jesus uses a masterful debate tactic to expose the evil hearts of the Jewish leaders, while mercifully offering them a chance to repent. Full of fear, the priests, scribes and elders cowardly back down, refusing to answer. In another assertion of His authority, Jesus refuses to answer their question.
Be awed by Jesus Christ
Marvel how Jesus, the Divine King, courageously Humiliates the powerful ruling Jewish elites as they attempt to attack Him: when confronted by them, Jesus Courageously (a part of Fortitude) refuses to back down; with superior Authority, Jesus sets the terms of the discussions, rather than answering their questions, He challenges them to answer His questions; the perfection of Judgment (a part of Prudence), Jesus asks a question that will Humiliate and incriminate the guilty Jewish elite no matter how they answer; humiliated and defeated, they lie, pretending like they don’t know the answer to Jesus’ question.
Be obedient to Jesus Christ in all things
Realize: With the widespread rebellion against authority and morals in recent decades, some men now reject authority of any institution, creed or moral code, claiming the personal authority to decide what’s right and wrong, and insisting on the “right” to do whatever they please.
Believe: Reflect upon Jesus Christ’s Authority (CCC 581, 651, 668-669, 1061-1065).
Pray: Jesus, King of the Universe, help me grow in the Virtue of Obedience (a part of Justice) so that I recognize and more fully submit to Your absolute authority, and seek to obediently do Your will in every aspect of my life.
Conform your life to the truths of the Church
Realize: Like the hapless Jewish leaders, some Catholic men today rebel against God by rejecting portions of the Magisterium the Jesus’ Holy Catholic Church, including the Church’s teachings on the necessity of the Sacraments of Penance and the Eucharist, chastity, contraception, fornication, marriage, and homosexual acts.
Believe: Reflect upon the errors of Israel’s Confusion about Christ (CCC 574-594).
Pray: Holy Spirit, give me the Gift of Knowledge so I might come to better know and accept the beautiful and comprehensive truths of Your Holy Catholic Church and I am guided by Your supreme knowledge in my daily life.