Daily Reflection for Monday, December 16, 2019
Peace and Blessings, Friends and Parishioners,
We encourage you to reflect on Monday’s readings at this link:
If you prefer to use your own Bible, the readings are:
First Reading: Numbers 24:2-7, 15-17
Responsorial: Psalm 25:4-9
Gospel: Matthew 21:23-27
Our reflection on Monday’s reading:
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.” Matthew 21:24
Suppose that you are a chief priest or elder of the Jewish community back at the time that Christ was starting to teach in the temple area. You could feel your influence waning as this young teacher was drawing people to his message. Because Jesus spoke with authority, you want to ask an appropriate question in hopes that you can put Jesus on the defensive and plant seeds of doubt about Jesus and his message. Perhaps you simply want to know how Jesus would answer the question!
Throughout the gospels we observe Jesus posing questions to the religious leaders, to his followers, and to us. Like any good teacher, Jesus does not tell us what to believe and what to think, but he helps us wrestle and discern right from wrong through questions and telling stories. So, it is no surprise that through a simple question, Jesus challenges the Jewish elders to think carefully about their answer. Jesus is fully prepared to answer their question, but in return he asks a question that helps him measure their sincerity. Jesus hears their answer and may assume that if they cannot see that John the Baptist’s baptism was of heavenly origin, they could not possibly understand where Jesus gained his insight and authority.
Questions are one of the best ways to seek understanding between competing ideas. Questions make us think. They help us discern truthfulness and sincerity. They help maintain a dialogue. In a divided world, more questions are better than fewer.
Advent is a good time to fall to our knees and ask our creator the tough questions. If questions are good for our human relationships, they also must be good for our spiritual relationships. Remember, asking questions is a normal part of dialogue. We should also expect answers which require listening, discernment, and response. While we listen for answers, don’t be too surprised that some of those “answers” may be more questions.
What deep questions do you have about your faith? As we ponder the deep meaning of Emmanuel, God with us, may our senses be opened to experience God’s questions for us.