Daily Readings Reflection for 12/14/09

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Reflection on Today’s Daily Readings by Fr. Bertrand Buby, SM

Today’s Readings

Scripture: Lectionary # 188. Numbers 24:2-7, 15-17. Psalm 25:4-5,6-7,8-9.
Matthew 21:23-27:

Jesus guides us on our Advent journey when we are humble and open to him;
he guides us to justice (see Psalm Resp. verse 25:9). Through the
teachings of Jesus we learn how to find the right paths in life. Matthew
loves to present Jesus as a superb teacher and in our selection we see how
he thwarts those teachers who are not authentic or sincere. Jesus
overcomes their intellectual plots against him by means of a wisdom that
flows from his inner self–the same word that is used for “authority.”

He is challenged by those who are supposed to be teachers of the law and of
the true religion. But they are more interested in their own ideas than in
the truth. So they come to Jesus and ask him by what authority and power
he teaches. As a wise person and a teacher he responds with a question of
his own in order to prove they are sinister in their opinionated and forced
question. He, in turn, asks them a question about the one who has already
given his life for the messiah, namely, John the Baptist. Was his baptism
by water unto forgiveness human or divine? This puts them in a quandry and
they realize that no matter what way they answer it they are losers. Jesus
thus does not answer their question about his authority and power in
teaching.

We all know that those teachers who are authentic have a joy and a way of
teaching that makes the student feel quite at ease. They inspire learning
and desire to be like one who enjoys this profession. Jesus authority
(exousia) flows from his inner self and is integrated and truthful.
Matthew in using the word for “authority” shows us that Jesus is speaking
from his very being and it is framed by his own question to them. His like
John the Baptist’s is both human and divine. Those who asked their
presumptious question are silenced and Jesus does not attempt to answer
their query.

This seems to follow upon the little parable that we heard the other day
about the children playing in the market place and inviting other children
to join them; they do not enter the dance nor the dirge they are playing.
So, too, the insincere questioners are like these little urchins who do not
enter the game others are enjoying. We all know good teachers when we see
them and we do not question their authority for we realize it flows from
the very being. Advent calls us to be attentive to the wise and wholesome
teachers who appear in the pages of the Bible. Jesus is among them and is
the teacher par excellence in the New Testament. Amen.

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