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. Jul 2021 .
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Doctrines & Morals

What was the source of the authority of John the Baptist?

Eccle. 51:12-20, Mk 11:27-33. Today's first reading is a canticle in praise of wisdom that comes through prayer, disciplined study of word of God and attention to instruction. The writer, Ben-Sirach is calm and confident as his fidelity over the years to the ancestral wisdom of his people brought him peace and a joyful feeling within his heart. In this way wisdom offers us life in its fullness. However, we must be honest with ourselves and with others and let God set the templates and questions posed by life. To assist in the process of gaining wisdom, we must avoid sin, seek enlightenment and be persistent in our search for wisdom, which can be possessed by being in intimate relationship with God, the source of all Wisdom. The Psalmist links this wisdom to knowing and putting precepts of God into practice. For joy and wisdom is only attained by being attuned to God and what He wills for our life. Our God works within reality and it requires honesty to relate to Him. Unless we recognise reality, He will not interact with us, for dishonesty sets up a higher barrier to God’s presence with us than any other sin.

All can be forgiven by God’s excelling mercy, but only if we honestly admit what needs to be forgiven. In today's Gospel, Jesus makes a similar demand, when the religious leaders of His time felt that their monopoly of truth and holiness dispenses them from ordinary justice. To protect their status they are prepared to be devious. Hence, Jesus is being challenged by the religious leaders to explain the source of His authority to cleanse the Temple. Instead of openly proclaiming His authority as the Son of God, He poses a question to the leaders: “What was the source of authority of John the Baptist?” The religious leaders realise that no matter how they answer they will be trapped. Jesus demonstrates that wisdom is not just knowledge, but being able to put knowledge into daily practice. We all need an authority of some sort as a reference point in life. The real issue is who or what will we take as our authority. The Gospels assure us that Jesus embodies the authentic authority of God, an authority that empowers us to become fully human and fully alive.

May the Lord help us to strive for the Kingdom of Heaven diligently and may we not fall short through selfishness or fear! Amen!! Good morning and happy weekend!!!

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