REFLECTION FOR TODAY
May 29, 2021
By Fr. Andrew Ibegbulem, OSA
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.” Mk. 11:29-30
Our gospel reference today was Jesus’ response to the question from the leaders of the people. Jesus had entered Jerusalem and the temple and as He walked in the open court of the temple, the chief priests, the scribes, and the elders confronted him in a hostile manner. They asked Him by what authority He did the things He did. And what was it that Jesus did?
Jesus had been in the Temple and drove the money changers out a day before for their inappropriate use of the temple. This outraged the religious leaders, and they immediately began to discuss how they could put Jesus to death and their first plot was the question posed today.
These elders were literally plotting to put Jesus, the Son of God, to death. They were filled with hatred and jealousy and refused to believe in Him. Jesus saw their hardness of heart and put them on the spot to first answer His question before He would answer theirs. Why would Jesus do this?
The question Jesus asked them was an act of great mercy. He was giving them an opportunity to repent. If they had only answered His question with humble faith and honesty, they could have saved their lives. Instead, they discussed among themselves His question and gave the politically correct answer. If they had said John’s baptism was of human origin, and not from God, they were afraid that the people would turn on them.
So, they simply said, “We do not know.” But imagine if they would have given the right answer. What if they had discussed it among themselves and concluded that John’s baptism truly was from God and that they should have believed in him? If they would have only humbled themselves, admitted that they had gravely erred regarding John, then Jesus would have answered their question, and their life of true faith could have begun. But they didn’t. They remained obstinate and could not admit they were wrong.
Obstinacy is among the most dangerous of sins. It’s a sin that cannot be forgiven, because, in essence, it’s a refusal to change. And when a person refuses to admit their sin, and refuses to change, then God cannot help them. They remain lost in their sin and suffer the consequences. Do we struggle with obstinacy in our lives? Do we find it difficult to admit when we are wrong? Do we find it difficult to apologize to others and seek to change?
Reflect, today, upon anything you remain obstinate about. Are there matters of faith that you refuse to believe? Are there broken relationships that you refuse to humbly restore? Do you justify your sin and refuse to admit your guilt and need to change? Pray to our Lord for the gift of a humble heart. Humility, in many ways, is nothing other than being completely honest with yourself and others before God. Do not follow the example of these religious leaders. Humbly seek to remove all obstinacy from your heart so that Our Lord can enter in and bring His mercy into your life.
My Jesus, You confront those who are proud, arrogant and obstinate with much strength and love. You do so to help them overcome their stubbornness of heart. Give me the grace of humility, dear Lord, so that I will always be able to admit my sin and turn to You in love. Jesus, I trust in You.