02 June, 2018. Sat. of Week 8

(Ss Marcellinus and Peter, martyrs)

1st Reading. Epistle of Jude (verses 17, 20-25)

Look to the mercy of Our Lord Jesus Christ

My beloved, you must remember the predictions of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ. But build yourselves up on your most holy faith; pray in the Holy Spirit; keep yourselves in the love of God; look forward to the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life. And have mercy on some who are wavering; save others by snatching them out of the fire; and have mercy on still others with fear, hating even the tunic defiled by their bodies.
Now to him who is able to keep you from falling, and to make you stand without blemish in the presence of his glory with rejoicing, to the only God our Saviour, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, power, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen.

Resp. Psalm (Ps 63)

R./: My soul is thirsting for you, O Lord my God

O God, you are my God whom I seek;
for you my flesh pines and my soul thirsts
like the earth, parched, lifeless and without water. (R./)
Thus have I gazed toward you in the sanctuary
to see your power and your glory,
For your kindness is a greater good than life;
my lips shall glorify you. (R./)
Thus will I bless you while I live;
lifting up my hands, I will call upon your name.
As with the riches of a banquet shall my soul be satisfied,
and with exultant lips my mouth shall praise you. (R./)

Gospel: Mark (11:27-33)

Opponents of Jesus question the source of his authority

Jesus and his disciples returned again to Jerusalem. Now as he was walking in the temple, the chief priests, the scribes, and the elders came to him and said, “By what authority are you doing these things? Who gave you this authority to do them?” Jesus said to them, “I will ask you one question; answer me, and I will tell you by what authority I do these things. Did the baptism of John come from heaven, or was it of human origin? Answer me.” They argued with one another, “If we say, ‘From heaven,’ he will say, ‘Why then did you not believe him?’ But shall we say, ‘Of human origin’?” –they were afraid of the crowd, for all regarded John as truly a prophet. So they answered Jesus, “We do not know.” And Jesus said to them, “Neither will I tell you by what authority I am doing these things.”


Let’s be honest

Honesty is needed to properly relate to God, who plumbs the depths of our hearts. Dishonesty is a greater barrier to awareness of God than our other, more identifiable sins. These can be forgiven by God’s mercy, but only if we can admit that we need forgiveness. The apostle Jude implies this kind of honesty, when he writes: “Correct those who are confused; the others you must rescue, snatching them from the fire.”
Jesus is similarly blunt, when religious leaders feel that their monopoly of holiness dispenses them from being honest about what they really believe. Was God speaking through John the Baptist? Was John a genuine prophet? To protect their status they felt the need to lie or at least be devious. In the early church, some people felt so spiritually sanctified that they could ignore normal discipline in their lives, particularly in acts such as eating or physical expressions of love. They were not honest enough to admit the integral unity between body and soul, the physical and spiritual sides of our nature.
We need to be honestly searching for truth, if we are to feel the power of truth in Jesus’ message.

By what authority?

Today’s gospel story comes just after Jesus has purged the temple. It was a very daring thing to do. Jesus certainly had not been authorized by the temple authorities to do what he did. The questionthey put to him is very understandable, “What authority have you for acting like this? Who gave you this authority? Earlier in his ministry, according to Mark, many ordinary people were impressed by the authority with which Jesus spoke and acted. Unlike ttheir religious leaders, they were not disturbed by his claim to authority, but they were greatly impressed by it. They kept asking one another, “What is this? A new teaching, with authority?”
Basically, Jesus spoke and acted as one inspired by God. For those who had eyes to see and ears to hear, this was a liberating authority. We all need authority of some sort as a reference point in life. The real issue is who or what will we take as our authority. Our faith assures us that Jesus embodies the authentic authority of God, an authority that enables us to become fully human and fully alive.


Ss Marcellinus and Peter, martyrs

Two Roman saints of the 3rd century. Marcellinus, a priest, and Peter, an exorcist, died in 304, during the persecution under emperor Diocletian. Pope Damasus I heard the story of these two martyrs from their executioner who became a Christian after their deaths. Their names are mentioned in the Roman Canon.

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