Advent 3 – Monday

Matt 21:23-27

The Authority of Jesus Questioned


The enemies of Jesus, especially the members of the Sanhedrin, wanted to put him on the spot with a question whose answer would not only embarrass him but even jeopardize his whole mission. It was not the right time to reveal who he really was and what he was up to, for to do so would jeopardize his mission. With courage and wit the Lord countered with another question – actually a dilemma whose two horns would either pin them with the fury of the Jews, if the Jewish leaders would say John’s baptism came from men inasmuch as the Jews had a high esteem of John, However, if the Jewish leaders would answer that the baptism John performed came from God, the former would be revealing their hardness of heart and utter lack of faith unworthy of their status as religious leaders.. indirectly, Jesus was asking, “Why don’t you believe in me when John himself acknowledged the nature of my mission?’ embarrassed, the Jewish elders gave a very lame answer of ‘We do not know.” And they were supposed to know! ((Fr. Flor Lagura, SVD Bible Diary 2004)


Authority as a concept could be understood in many ways. One possesses authority if he is learned, well-informed or has specialized on a specific field of study. People will definitely listen to him if he talks about his field of expertise. Authority is also vested on someone by law through the electoral process. One could also wield authority and influence if he has, ‘guns, goons and gold.’ Mao Che Tung once said that power emanates from the barrel of the gun.

Jesus’ authority comes from above, for he came to fulfill the Father’s will (Phil 2:6). The authority of Jesus emanated from the inner richness and authenticity of His life as he is the perfect embodiment of the Father’s love to save all (John 3:16). This is what we call moral authority. Jesus was not a demagogue or a politician trying to win votes. He led by example. The greatest must be the servant of all and so he went on washing the feet   of His apostles. Redemptoris Missio says that the words o Jesus have power because they flow from His life. Preaching and living what he proclaimed are welded together.

Chot Reyes, the coach of our National Basketball Team heads an outfit called Coachcom, Inc whose objective is to use the coaching discipline and technology in other fields like business, community building, teamwork and attitude change. A coach is someone who has mastered the intricacies of a particular sport which should enable him to transfer such knowledge and skills to others.

But it takes, however, more than knowledge and mastery of the sports or business.  Coach should have the ability to inspire. He should be able to set higher standards, which he players will aim for. He should have personal integrity and honesty – traits which are the ultimate anchor of human relations. Coaching springs from within a person. It is about who you are as much as what you do. One can only coach according to who he is. If you want to develop your team/community, develop yourself first. It is about personal development, if you want to lead your team, lead yourself first. No wonder, Mother Mary instructed the servants at the wedding in Cana, “do whatever he tells you.” A Divine Coach was in their midst.

People do what people see. When you mentor others, you flesh out your life before them, you give them an insider’s view of what you are experiencing and how you are handling it. They will learn from your mistakes and successes so that when they are faced with something similar, they make the right choices. Jesus invited His would-be followers to “come and see,” and be with Him.

Our very own Cecille Licad, one of the world’s best pianists, literally becomes one with her music when she plays the piano. She says that playing the piano is like a prayer, a meditation. It is her soul that plays the piano not only her hands. “Music has so many colors, and if I could not convey anything to the people, I feel I’m not supposed to be there on stage. For people to feel what I feel when I perform, I have to feel it first myself.” Yes, integrity and moral authority comes from within. (Fr. Pabs Tagura, SVD Bible Diary 2008)


The chief priests and the elders of the people pleaded ignorance to Jesus’ question about whether John’s baptism was of human or of divine origin.

Their action forced them into an embarrassing and compromising position, we might say. It was actually their duty to help people distinguish between true and false prophets. Pleading ignorance, they claimed that they could not fulfill their duty.

It is humiliating to plead ignorance to avoid the consequences of telling the truth. When it comes to truth, the question is not “What is the safe answer to give?” Rather it is, “What is the right answer to give?” (Fr. Fred Mislang, SVD Bible Diary 2009)


The Third Week of Advent is signified by the lighted pink candle from among candles of the Advent wreath. It starts with the Sunday liturgy, where the priest has the option to wear the pi8nk vestments indicative of Gaudete Sunday (Sunday of Joy). Indeed, we rejoice for Christmas Day draws near. In fact, it is somewhere within this week that the Church will start the nine-day Aguinaldo Masses for Christmas.

Rejoicing in the Lord is, first of all, possible when, unlike the chief priests and the elders of the Jews, we are able to accept as a matter of fact that our life with all its joys and pains should be under the authority of God. Rejoicing amidst all becomes possible when there is in us a healthy sense of surrender to the will of God.

It is true that we have to make a sense of events in life. We have to search for meaning. We must not be blindly led. Conviction comes with finding meaning and reason for things. But in the end, like Jesus, we have to bow before the will of the Heavenly Father not simply with resignation, not with fear, but with great trust and confidence that if God is “Father,” he knows what is best.

The 1997 Catechism of the Catholic Church (n. 268-278) declares that God’s omnipotence has three characteristics: universal, loving and mysterious. Universal, meaning, nothing is impossible with God who disposes his works according to his will. Loving, meaning,  His power and his being truly a caring father shed light on one another. His authority and might is not something arbitrary. Mysterious, meaning, the power of God and the wisdom of God may at times seem foolish for us (cf. 1Cor 1:24-25).

Pet us then examine ourselves: in what ways are we struggling with the authority of God? (Fr. Domie Guzman SSP New Every Morning New Everyday 2006:14).


Reflection for Monday December 15, Third week of Advent; Matthew 21:23-27 – Reflection: Where does Jesus’ authority comes from? We know that it comes from God, God gave Jesus the authority to preach, heal, exorcise those who are possessed by the devil and so forth.

The ruling class at that time (Pharisees, chief priest and elders of the people) was questioning Jesus’ authority because Jesus’ authority was more powerful than theirs. People were starting to flock more to Jesus than to them therefore they have to question His authority. Jesus never backed down with His authority He held-on to it until death.

Parent’s authority over their children is encompassing this means that for as long as parents live they have authority over their children until mortal death ends this authority. But why is it that many parents are being disrespected by their children?

This is for the reason that many parents failed to properly role model their authority over their children. They did not discipline their children; they spoiled their children by showering them material things. They failed to lead by example and they failed to introduce God to their children by teaching them about Jesus and by bringing them to church for Holy Mass.  Thus they end-up losing their authority over their children and the respect of their children.

If we want to have authority over our children and with other people under our care we must therefore be like Jesus. For Jesus exercised His authority by being a good role model, Jesus led by example until the end, even at the cost of His very own life.

How do you exercise your authority? – Marino J. Dasmarinas


HAVE YOUR WAY WITH ME, O GOD! – A pupil asked his teacher: “Ma’am, would you punish me for something I didn’t do?” The teacher replied, “Well, of course not.”

The pupil continued, “That’s great, because I didn’t do my homework.” Students don’t usually want to do their homework. They usually resent it when their teachers give assignments.

In today’s Gospel, the chief priests and the elders approached Jesus like unhappy students resenting their teacher. “On what authority do you do these things?” Jesus refused to answer their questions directly because they were not asking the right questions. Jesus was teaching in the Temple not on the strength of authority or power (though He obviously has both).

The season of Advent invites us to ponder on this mystery of a God who could have directed the world on the sheer strength of power and authority but did not. Couldn’t God just have dropped a manual from heaven and directed humanity to study it and prepare for an examination under pain of damnation in case of failure? He could have, but He didn’t.

The deep mystery of Christmas is the mystery of a God who became man in order to show humanity how to live his own humanity. Isn’t that the mystery behind the name of the child Mary was to bear? Emmanuel — the God who is with us. The deep mystery of Christmas is the mystery of a God whose way is not to impose but to propose.

And there lies the paradox. Before Someone who does not wish to impose through sheer power and authority, I do not mind to be imposed upon. Before Someone who does not wish to impose through sheer power and authority, I can willingly surrender.

Now we understand the docility expressed in today’s Responsorial Psalm: “Teach me your ways, O Lord.” God’s ways are not cold, whimsical instructions from a distant God residing in His ivory palace. Jesus taught nothing in the Scriptures that He Himself did not experience or practice. That is why He became Emmanuel — the God who is with us! Fr. Joel Jason

REFLECTION QUESTION: There is no commandment in the Scriptures that Jesus Himself did not practice or experience. Do you see God as a dictator or a companion?

“Your ways, O Lord, make known to me; teach me Your paths. Guide me in Your truth and teach me, for You are God my Savior.”


See Today’s Readings:  Year I,   Year II

Back to: Monday of the 3rd Week of Advent

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