Faith and Discernment

Matthew 21: 23-27
Nm 24: 2-7. 15-17a / Ps 25: 4-9

I will ask you one question; if you tell me the answer, then I will tell you by what authority I do these things.
(Matthew 21:24)

To gain wisdom, Lord, we have found
Faith and trust are what You require.
The crafty and smart You confound,
The humble of heart You inspire.

When he entered the temple, the chief priests and the elders of the people came to Him as He was teaching, and said, ‘By what authority are you doing these things, and who gave you this authority?’ Jesus said to them, ‘I will also ask you one question; if you tell me the answer, then I will also tell you by what authority I do these things. Did the baptism of John come from heaven, or was it of human origin?’ And they argued with one another, ‘If we say, “From heaven”, he will say to us, “Why then did you not believe him?” But if we say, “Of human origin”, we are afraid of the crowd; for all regard John as a prophet.’ So they answered Jesus, ‘We do not know.’ And he said to them, ‘Neither will I tell you by what authority I am doing these things. (Matthew 21: 23-27)

Reflection

The chief priests and elders of the Jews remained sceptical of Jesus’ divinity because they refused to open their hearts to His teachings for fear of losing their exalted status among the Jews. They would not even accept the wonders that He was performing as solid proof of His divinity.

People who are wise in the ways of the world are guilty of the same kind of cynicism because they do not read the Word of God and meditate on His Gospel lessons as often as they should. This lack of interest in God’s Word is what makes them question the authority of God. And the more they doubt His power and love, the least likely their prayers will be answered. God loves a trusting heart, and manifests His loving ways to the man of faith who has confidence in His compassion and mercy.

The man of faith never questions the things in life which he cannot understand, however unfair it might appear to be. He does not doubt the goodness of our Lord, even in the midst of poverty and hardships. Human minds are too limited to understand the designs of the Creator. Just as the ants that labor below us can never begin to comprehend the mysteries of man, neither can we fathom God’s plans. “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways my ways, says the Lord. As high as the heavens are above the earth, so high are my ways above your ways and my thoughts above your thoughts” (Isaiah 55:8-9). We must never ask the Lord why. We just have to trust Him in all things, against all doubts and fears.

Besides, God is under no obligation to reveal to man the mysteries in His creation, just as it is His sole prerogative to grant His gifts of wisdom and discernment to whomever He pleases to give them. And most of the time, the wise and the learned are not so favoured; it is to the little ones that the Father chooses to reveal His mysteries (Mt. 11:25). As the psalmist wrote, “Good and upright is the Lord… He guides the humble to justice, He teaches the humble his way” (Psalm 25:9).

Father God, teach us to trust You completely in facing life’s trials and difficulties, especially in the coming year, a time of great economic hardships that many fear. Keep our faith in You strong, that we may be able to weather whatever the coming storm. Amen.

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