The Desire for Authority and Admiration

Saturday, June 2, 2018

Saturday of the Eighth Week in Ordinary Time

Readings for Today

Saints Marcellinus and Peter, Martyrs – Optional Memorial

“By what authority are you doing these things? Or who gave you this authority to do them?”  Mark 11:28

This was the question that the scribes and Pharisees put to Jesus as He entered the temple area to teach.  Jesus had been exercising His authority through His preaching and through the many miracles He had performed.  This exercise of His divine authority caused much jealousy and envy in the hearts of the religious leaders of the time.  So they came forward to trap Him with this crafty question.

The first thing to point out is that these religious leaders clearly did not ask this question because they wanted to know the answer.  They asked it because they were trying to find fault with Jesus.  But Jesus outsmarted them.

Because Jesus knew that their only intent was to trap Him, He set a sort of trap for them in return.  He asked them a question and told them that if they answered this question, He would answer theirs.  He asked them by what authority John the Baptist baptized.  The religious leaders then went to discuss this question and in their discussion it’s clear that they were not discussing the question so as to arrive at the correct answer.  Rather, they were discussing what the most politically beneficial answer would be.  In other words, they didn’t care about the truth of the question, they only cared about the outcome of the answer.  The outcome they wanted was one that benefitted their agenda and their own power.

What a dangerous road to walk down!  This is, of course, an accusation made very often toward politicians.  Though not every politician falls into this trap, it is a trap that some fall into.  When we are consumed with a need to gain power and respect within the public eye, we will often be tempted to say or do that which we judge to be the most popular and that which paints us in the best light.  But this is not the way a Christian, and especially a religious leader, must act.

Our goal must constantly be the clear, unambiguous truth.  We must work hard at letting go of a desire to look good in the eyes of others.  Though it’s nice to look good, the only opinion that ultimately matters is God’s.  His “opinion” is not an opinion, it’s Truth.

Reflect, today, upon the tendency you may face to be deceitful at times so as to present yourself in a false way.  Do you worry too much about the opinions of others?  Do you act and speak only to benefit your personal agenda and desires?  Or are you committed to honesty and sincerity?  Choose the honest path and our Lord will give you a share in His holy and divine authority of love.

Lord, I pray that the example set by the scribes and Pharisees will help me to turn from deceitful ways and help me to daily embrace the truth.  I pray that, as I enter more fully into Your Truth, I will also share in the authority of Your holy love.  Jesus, I trust in You.

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Saints for Today – Saints Marcellinus and Peter

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