Daily Gospel Meditation & Discussion - Monday 15December 2008 - GOD'S KINGDOM BRINGS CONFLICT


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Prayers and Liturgy of Today
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[LEFT]Are you willing to take a stand for the truth, even when it costs? Or do you look for the safe way out?

Jesus told his disciples that the truth would make them free (John 8:32). Why were the religious leaders opposed to Jesus’ and evasive with the truth? Did they fear the praise of their friends and neighbors more than the praise of God for those who stand up to his truth? The coming of God’s kingdom or reign on the earth will inevitably …
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#2

s2ew.ocarm.org/pls/ocarm/consultazione.mostra_pagina?id_pagina=561

• The Gospel today describes the conflict that Jesus had with the religious authority of the time, after that he drove out the merchants from the Temple. The priests and the elders of the people wanted to know with which authority Jesus was doing those things: to go into the Temple and drive out the merchants (cf. Mt 21, 12-13). The authority considered itself the master of all and thought that nobody could do anything without their permission. This is why they persecuted Jesus and tried to kill him. Something similar was also happening in the Christian communities of the years seventy-eighty, the time in which the Gospel of Jesus was written. Those who resisted the authority of the Empire were persecuted. There were others, so as not to be persecuted, tried to reconcile Jesus’ project, with the project of the Roman Empire (cf. Ga 6, 12). The description of the conflict of Jesus with the authority of his time was a help for the Christians, so that they could continue fearless in the persecutions and would not allow themselves to be manipulated by the ideology of the Empire.

Today, also, some who exercise power, whether in society or in the Church and the family, want to control everything as if they were the masters of all the aspects of the life of the people. They even persecuted those who thought in a different way. Keeping in mind these thoughts and problems, let us read and meditate on today’s Gospel.

• Matthew 21, 23: The question of the religious authority to Jesus. “What authority have you for acting like this? And who gave you this authority?” Jesus answered: “And I will ask you a question, just one, if you tell me the answer to it, then I will tell you my authority for acting like this. John’s baptism, what was its origin, heavenly or human? Jesus went back to the Temple. When he taught, the chief priests and the elders of the people went close to him and asked: With what authority do you do these things? Who has given you this authority?” Jesus again goes around the great square of the Temple. Then appear some priests and elders to question him. After everything that Jesus had done the day before, they want to know with which authority he does these things. They did not ask which was the true reason which urged Jesus to drive out the merchants from the Temple (cf. Mt 21, 12-13). They only ask with which authority he does those things. They think that they have the right to control everything. They do not want to lose control of things.

• Matthew 21, 24-25ª: The question of Jesus to the authority. Jesus does not refuse answering, but he shows his independence and liberty and says: “I also, will ask you a question, if you tell me the answer to it, then I will tell you my authority for acting like this. John’s baptism, what was its origin, heavenly or human?” This was an intelligent question, simple as a dove and cunning as a serpent! (cf. Mt 10, 16). The question shows the lack of honesty of his enemies. For Jesus, the baptism of John came from heaven, came from God. He himself had been baptised by John (Mt 3, 13-17). The men who had power, on the contrary, had plotted or planned the death of John (Mt 14, 3-12). And in this way they showed that they did not accept the message of John and that they considered his baptism like something from men and not from God.

• Matthew 21, 25b-26: Reasoning of the authority. The priests and the elders were aware of the importance or significance of the question and reasoned in the following way: "If we say heavenly, he will retort to us. Then why did you refuse to believe him? If we answer human, then we have the people to fear, for they all hold that John was a prophet”. And therefore, so as not to expose themselves they answered: “We do not know!” This is an opportunist response, a pretence and interested one. Their only interest was not to lose their power over the people. Within themselves they had already decided everything: Jesus should be condemned to death (Mt 12, 14).

• Matthew 21, 27: Final conclusion of Jesus. And Jesus says to them: “Nor will I tell you my authority for acting like this”. Their total lack of honesty makes them unworthy to receive an answer from Jesus.


#3

Matthew 21, 27: Final conclusion of Jesus. And Jesus says to them: “Nor will I tell you my authority for acting like this”. Their total lack of honesty makes them unworthy to receive an answer from Jesus.

Oh, Barb, I love this scripture, and you cannot believe how timely it is! I just posted this about a half hour ago, in response to a false sincerity someone used in questioning me.

“John 8:6 They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing him.”

People have no idea that their thoughts send forth a presence. It is so easy to discern; as easily as a cell phone sends forth its message across the world, without using any visible medium that man can see. One can enter a room and sense anger and hostility, or joy and open acceptance. I don’t know how it works, but we read in scripture that “The spiritual person, however, can discern everything but is not subject to judgment by anyone” [1 Cor. 2:15)

Naturally, we don’t have the fullness of this ability, as did Our Lord, but through His Spirit living within us, as St. John of the Cross teaches, our discernment is usually correct. I have a book from a very spiritual person who teaches the danger of thought transmission, as if our thoughts are our own *private possession and nobody else can detect them. True, we cannot detect the word for word process in another’s mind, but we can detect the spirit underneath the words, be they spoken or written.

Thanks for this good meditation.

Carole


#4

What you said above is very true. I think we have all experienced that sometimes in the crowd, if someone was staring at us, we would turn our head and look to that direction. Even we have no eyes on our backs, somehow, we would receive the signal that direct us to where the staring came from. That proves our physical glance or thoughts really send out transmissions, even we cannot see them.

When we are dealing with people, we can discern their hidden spirit if we observe careful enough, especially if we are prayerful people and have a close relationship with God. The anointing of the Holy Spirit gives us the wisdom we need.


#5

[quote=InLight247]When we are dealing with people, we can discern their hidden spirit if we observe careful enough, especially if we are prayerful people and have a close relationship with God. The anointing of the Holy Spirit gives us the wisdom we need.
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I just KNEW you would understand this, InLight! :thumbsup:


#6

There are many ways that we do pick up on the underlying spirit or message behind the words spoken or written. Very often too spiritual people are aware in the presence of spiritual evil…this can be apprehended in many ways - an uneasiness and a need to get away probably summarizes it. Or on reading something, an urge to stop reading, to sense something about it that needs avoiding. Is this the Gift of Spirits per se - of actually discerning spirits? Of this I am unsure, although I tend to think it is probably a simple version of this gift that is not uncommon amongst spiritual people.

What came across to me in this Gospel is that since Jesus was in our midst humanly, the Gospel has been persecuted and this has remained a factor down through the ages into our own times “They have persecuted me and they will persecute you”. There is nothing unusual about this, be it in a mild or an extreme forum. Just as there is nothing unusual about the way we can argue amongst ourselves as Catholics, this too has been a constant factor down through the ages.
What we need to do is to learn to disagree and to argue and ‘fight fairly’ addressing the argument only and not the actual person.:thumbsup:
The other point that was underscore for me is the “conflict” factor. “Take up your cross daily and come follow me”. Jesus has not promised us a rose garden in this world, rather a share in His Cross in some way and this is the way of the Christian and certainly should be that of the Catholic - and yet we can be alarmed and surprised when the Cross does come our way. My resolution was to look prayerfully at my attitudes and perspectives re the negtive things that do come into my life either small or great.

Barb:)


#7

There are many ways that we do pick up on the underlying spirit or message behind the words spoken or written. Very often too spiritual people are aware in the presence of spiritual evil…this can be apprehended in many ways - an uneasiness and a need to get away probably summarizes it. Or on reading something, an urge to stop reading, to sense something about it that needs avoiding. Is this the Gift of Spirits per se - of actually discerning spirits? Of this I am unsure, although I tend to think it is probably a simple version of this gift that is not uncommon amongst spiritual people.

It did not occur to me that it may be a gift of the Holy Spirit until I read your message, Barb. How seldom we recognize that this is a spiritual “gift.” It just seems to be a natural accompaniment of our union with God, that may increase in sensitivity as we become more and more purified by His grace.

You mentioned “something about it that needs avoiding.” Haven’t we seen real evil underneath the guise of a joke while being scoffed at? I’m reminded of the verse in Proverbs: Like a crazed archer scattering firebrands and deadly arrows is the man who deceives his neighbor, and then says, “I was only joking.” (26:18-19) [On the internet, these scoffers will often hide their malice under a smilie, thinking the person will never really know they meant it.]


#8

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