Advent: Week 3: Monday: Year C
1st Reading: Nm 24: 2-7.15-17: A star from Jacob takes the leadership.
Gospel: Matthew: 21: 23-27: John’s Baptism: Where did it come from?
The Questioning of the Messiah’s Power/Authority:
The Problem with Obstinate Unbelief.
In this passage to the end of Mt 23, Jesus deals with his opponents, self-righteous religionists and civil leaders (the elders). There is the great tragedy and problem with self-righteousness and unbelief. Jesus was forceful in attacking self-righteousness and unbelief. He strongly said to them such people are unworthy of God’s kingdom. Obstinate unbelief is doomed. We find the following points in this passage:
1. The obstinate unbelief of leaders. What Jesus was doing simply infuriated them, sending them into a rage. It aroused them to question: “Who does Jesus of Nazareth think he is?” (Mt 21: 10-11).
2. Unbelief treats Christ with disdain: they disturbed the people’s teaching and worship. Jesus was teaching and people were worshiping a true God.
3. Unbelief questions the authority of Jesus Christ. The Sanhedrin (chief priests, elders and Scribes) were the leaders of the nation and the chief priests were the guardians and rulers of the temple.
4. Unbelief must face the personal interrogation of Christ. Christ has much right to question unbelievers as they do him. He asked only one question: “Is John’s ministry from heaven or from men?” He had right to question.
5. Unbelief causes a three-fold sin and guilt.
a. A deliberate denial by people (self-righteous).
b. A deliberate cowardice by people.
c. A deliberate ignorance of people.
6. Unbelief results in Christ’s silence: He refuses to reveal himself.
Thought: Even if Jesus Christ openly revealed the truth to them, they would reject it. The judgement of Christ stands against obstinate unbelief. Unbelief is doomed.
“He said to him, if they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.” (Lk 16: 31)