Monday of the Third Week of Advent

Monday, December 13, 2021

Matthew 21:23–27

Friends, in today’s Gospel, the chief priests and elders question Jesus: “By what authority are you doing these things? And who gave you this authority?”

The Greek word used for “authority” is most enlightening: exousia. It means, literally, “from the being of.” Jesus speaks with the very exousia of God, and therefore, his words effect what they say. He says, “Lazarus, come out!” (John 11:43), and the dead man comes out of the tomb. He rebukes the wind and says to the sea, “Be still!” (Mark 4:39), and there is calm. And the night before he dies, he takes bread and says, “This is my body” (Matt. 26:26; Mark 14:22; Luke 22:19). And what he says is.

Friends, this is the authority of the Church. If we are simply the guardians of one interesting philosophical perspective among many, then we are powerless. If we rely on our own cleverness in argumentation, then we will fail. Our power comes—and this remains a great mystery—only when we speak with the authority of Jesus Christ.

REFLECT: How can we, mere humans, “speak with the authority of Jesus Christ”?

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