“The divine Word, coming and knocking at the door of our soul, challenges our
indolence and rouses us from slumber. His desire is always to enter and make His
home with us.” ~Saint Guerric of Igny

Monday, December 15 ~ Third Week in the Season of Advent
Holy Gospel: Matthew 21:23-27 When Jesus had come into the temple area, the chief priests and the
elders of the people approached him as he was teaching and said, “By what authority are you doing these
things? And who gave you this authority?” Jesus said to them in reply, “I shall ask you one question, and
if you answer it for me, then I shall tell you by what authority I do these things. Where was John’s
baptism from? Was it of heavenly or of human origin?” They discussed this among themselves and said,
“If we say ‘Of heavenly origin,’ he will say to us, ‘Then why did you not believe him?’ But if we say, ‘Of
human origin,’ we fear the crowd, for they all regard John as a prophet.” So they said to Jesus in reply,
“We do not know.” He himself said to them, “Neither shall I tell you by what authority I do these things.”
Meditation: What made the religious leaders oppose Jesus and reject his claim to divine authority? Their
view of religion did not match with God’s word because their hearts were set on personal gain rather than
truth and submission to God’s plan and design for their lives. They openly questioned Jesus to discredit his
claim to be the Messiah. If Jesus says his authority is divine they will charge him with blasphemy. If he
has done this on his own authority they might well arrest him as a mad zealot before he could do more
damage. Jesus, seeing through their trap, poses a question to them and makes their answer a condition
for his answer. Did they accept the work of John the Baptist as divine or human? If they accepted John’s
work as divine, they would be compelled to accept Jesus as the Messiah. They dodged the question
because they were unwilling to face the truth. They did not accept John the Baptist and they would not
accept Jesus as their Messiah.
Prayer: Incline a merciful ear to our cry, we pray, O Lord, and, casting light on the darkness of our
hearts, visit us with the grace of your Son. Who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Contemplation: A serious question to ask yourself: Are you willing to take a stand for the truth, even
when it may cost you? Or do you look for the safe way out through compromise, political correctness, or
simply selling yourself out? Jesus told his disciples that “the truth would make them free” (ref. John 8:32).
Why were the religious leaders opposed to Jesus’ and evasive with the truth? Did they fear the praise of
their friends and neighbors more than the praise of God for those who stand up to his truth? The coming
of God’s kingdom or reign on the earth will inevitably produce conflict – a conflict of allegiance to God’s
will or my will, God’s way of love and justice or the world’s way of playing fair, God’s standard of absolute
moral truth or truth relative to what I want to believe is good and useful for the time being. There is much
joy and freedom to be experienced by living our lives according to God’s way, God’s truth. Do you know
the joy and freedom of living according to God’s truth? If not, what is diverting your attention and your
path in life? What is holding you back?