June 1, 2013

The Gospel Today

Memorial of St. Justin, Martyr

Mk. 11: 27-33

Jesus and his disciples returned once more to Jerusalem.
As he was walking in the temple area,
the chief priests, the scribes, and the elders
approached him and said to him,
“By what authority are you doing these things?
Or who gave you this authority to do them?”
Jesus said to them, “I shall ask you one question.
Answer me, and I will tell you by what authority I do these things.
Was John’s baptism of heavenly or of human origin? Answer me.”
They discussed this among themselves and said,
“If we say, ‘Of heavenly origin,’ he will say,
‘Then why did you not believe him?’
But shall we say, ‘Of human origin’?”–
they feared the crowd,
for they all thought John really was a prophet.
So they said to Jesus in reply, “We do not know.”
Then Jesus said to them,
“Neither shall I tell you by what authority I do these things.”

Reflection (Sem. Jason Villafuerte):

In today’s Gospel, we are situated in the temple area, wherein Jesus was walking and teaching the people when the chief priests, the scribes, and the elders approach him. They asked whose authority Jesus was teaching. However, Jesus knew their minds and immediately asked them whose authority John the Baptist taught. They said they do not know, and consequently, Jesus did not answer their question.

I am thinking of those situations when I can see people doing good things. A brother may be helping another brother, or a brother might be guiding another brother on his task. I was brought into reflection: sometimes, though other people do good things, still I perceive it not as good.

Going back on our Gospel, the chief priests, scribes, and elders, saw Jesus teaching the people. They thought ill of him; hence they questioned his authority in teaching. Perhaps, they were afraid that if the people would start to follow Jesus, they would lose the same people, not only their number, but also their tithing and belief in them. How Am I also afraid to lose people’s belief in me? A manifestation of selfishness in me! Instead of drawing people to the Lord who is the giver of wisdom and talents, I tend draw people to myself by implicitly seeking attention or praise.

Today, we celebrate St. Justin, the martyr. He was an apologist who fought the unbelief of other people towards the early Church. His writings included explanations on the truth about the Christian faith so that people may believe in the Good News of Jesus and not follow pagan idols anymore. However, the cruelty of the Roman Empire against Christians during the reign of Marcus Aurelius took St. Justin’s life, though he just wanted to establish a school for the people.

In our day, how many of us can stand like St. Justin and fight for our Christian faith? Are we willing to risk our sake for the welfare of the Church? Or we are just one of those who tell others that we are Catholics but are not able to even state the basics of the faith?

Through the intercession of St. Justin, may we see that we Christians also have authority – the authority of proclaiming Jesus as Lord and Savior. May we be able to conform our lives to Jesus who is the source of our strength and courage.

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