Readings 20141215

The following reflection is courtesy of PresentationMinistries.com (c) 2014. Their website is located at PresentationMinistries.com

QUESTION BOX

“I too will ask a question.” —Matthew 21:24
Sometimes we pray and talk to God, even questioning Him, but He doesn’t seem to answer. We wonder if He’s even listening. One reason for this is mentioned in today’s Gospel reading. The chief priests and elders asked Jesus two questions (Mt 21:23). Jesus replied that He would not answer their questions until they answered His (Mt 21:24). “Their answer to Jesus was, ‘We do not know.’ He said in turn, ‘Then neither will I tell you on what authority I do the things I do’ ” (Mt 21:27).

Jesus loves to ask questions such as: “Who do you say that I am?” (Mt 16:15) “Do you love Me?” (Jn 21:17) “Where are you?” (Gn 3:9) “Do you want to leave Me too?” (Jn 6:67) “Do you really believe?” (Jn 16:31) “What are you looking for?” (Jn 1:38) “Are you confident I can do this?” (Mt 9:28) Will you repent and forgive? Do you love Me with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength? (see Mt 22:37) The Lord has many other questions for us.

Jesus is asking you a question. Don’t say: “I don’t know” (see Mt 21:27). Answer Him in love.

Prayer: Father, may Jesus get His questions answered this Advent. Promise: “A Star shall advance from Jacob, and a Staff shall rise from Israel.” —Nm 24:17 Praise: Charles had lost his marriage and nearly his life by having it his way. He turned to the Lord and started living by God’s way. (Read the Bible daily. Order any or all of these tapes: Ignorance of Scripture is Ignorance of Christ, AV 82-1, V-82, How to Pray the Bible on audio AV 82-3 or on video V-82, How to Read the Bible on audio AV 46-3 or on video V-46, Principles of Bible Interpretation, audio AV 79-1, video V-79.)
Rescript: In accord with the Code of Canon Law, I hereby grant my permission to publish One Bread, One Body covering the period from December 1, 2014 through January 31, 2015.
†Most Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Auxiliary Bishop, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, June 30, 2014.
The rescript is a declaration that a book or pamphlet is considered to be free of doctrinal or moral error. It is not implied that those who have granted ecclesial permission agree with the contents, opinions, or statements

The following reflection is courtesy of Don Schwager (c) 2014, whose website is located at DailyScripture.net
Are you willing to take a stand for the truth, even when it might cost you personally because of opposition or disapproval from others? When we fear the disapproval or rejection of our friends we are tempted to be evasive and to bluff our way to avoid confrontation or trouble. Jesus told his disciples that the truth would make them free – free to think and act according to what they know is right, honest, and good, rather than yield to deception, lies, and evil (John 8:32).
Yielding to the Spirit of truth rather than falsehood
When the Israelites began to enter the promised land, after their wilderness sojourn of forty years, they met stiff resistance and opposition from the people around them. Balak, one of the local rulers in Canaan, employed the services of Balaam, a prophet of Baal, to put a curse upon the Israelites. Balak wanted to scare the Israelites away through fear and ill omen. Balaam, however, prophesied blessing and protection to the Israelites rather than cursing and destruction. He yielded to the Spirit of truth rather than to the spirit of falsehood. He spoke the word of God contrary to the words which King Balak wanted him to speak. Balaam even prophesied that a star would one day announce the coming of the Messiah King from the house of Jacob. This king would destroy all the enemies of God’s people and establish a kingdom of peace (Numbers 24:17).

When the prophet John the Baptist began to preach a message of repentance in preparation for the coming of the Messiah, the religious leaders and rulers in Palestine resisted his word and persecuted him as well. Jesus met resistance, opposition, and fierce hostility from the religious rulers as well. Why did the religious leaders oppose Jesus and reject his claim to divine authority? Their view of religion did not match with God’s word because their hearts were set on personal gain rather than truth and submission to God’s plan and design for their lives.
They openly questioned Jesus to discredit his claim to be the Messiah. If Jesus says his authority is divine they will charge him with blasphemy. If he has done this on his own authority they might well arrest him as a mad zealot before he could do more damage. Jesus, seeing through their trap, poses a question to them and makes their answer a condition for his answer. Did they accept the work of John the Baptist as divine or human? If they accepted John’s work as divine, they would be compelled to accept Jesus as the Messiah. They dodged the question because they were unwilling to face the truth. They did not accept the Baptist and they would not accept Jesus as their Messiah.

There can be no compromise with Jesus’ authority – he is Truth incarnate
The coming of God’s kingdom or reign on the earth inevitably leads to conflict – a conflict of allegiance to God’s will or my will, God’s justice or the world’s way of playing fair, God’s standard of absolute moral truth or truth relative to what I want to believe is good and useful for the time being. How do you respond to Jesus’ claim to be not only the Messiah, but the source of everlasting life and truth as well? Do you submit to his word and stake your life on the coming of his kingdom? Jesus promises that those who seek to live according to God’s truth will find true joy, freedom, and happiness both now and forever.

“Lord Jesus Christ, you are the Way, the Truth, and the Life. Let your light shine in my heart and in my mind that I may grow in understanding the truth of your word and find joy and freedom in living according to it.”

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