By What Authority?

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Do you pray for wisdom? I hope so. When we pray for wisdom, we will receive it. (Usually in small doses, at least in my case.) Today’s first reading from Sirach 51 tells of the benefits of praying for wisdom. In the Gospel reading today from Mark 11, the chief priests, the scribes and the elders ask Jesus, “By what authority are you doing these things?”

Jesus asks them a trick question and tells them that if they can answer the question, He will tell them by what authority He does these things. Naturally, they do not answer the question. And Jesus fulfills His part of the bargain and doesn’t tell them. But of course we know the answer.

Jesus’ authority comes from the Father. But does knowing that make a difference in our lives? Do we live under the authority of Christ? And what about the authority that Christ has passed down to His Church? Authority is a tough thing for us to deal with sometimes. We like to be rugged individualists. The bumper sticker tells us to “Question Authority.” But when the authority comes from God, perhaps we should question less and accept more.

Father, teach us to be submissive to your authority. Amen.

Today’s Readings


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