“By what authority are you doing these things?”

Today’s scene (Mk 11:27-33) immediately follows yesterday’s event of Jesus cleansing the temple of merchants and finds Jesus already dealing with its repercussions.  Jesus and His disciples return to the temple area and are confronted by the chief priests, scribes, and elders.  They ask Jesus the question at top because of what He had done previously in the temple.  Jesus turns it around on them, saying He will only answer if they tell Him what they believe to be the origin of John the Baptist’s baptism.  Not believing it to be of heavenly origin, they refuse to say human because they fear the crowd’s reaction.  Ultimately they tell Jesus they don’t know, so Jesus also refuses to answer them.  Well, we know Jesus authority: it comes from God…He comes from God… He is God.  We profess this, we believe this, we know this.  Things get a bit more tricky since the time Jesus returned to heaven.  The question of authority is absolutely essential to know where to find the fullness of revealed truth today.  The Catholic Church claims this authority as one, holy, catholic, and apostolic.  One in its unity, holy in that it was established and is protected by God, universal in its scope and message, and apostolic in its origin.  It is absolutely vital for any person of good will to ask where the fullness of revealed truth resides.  If Jesus established a church and entrusted it to men with His blessing (Mt 16:18-19), then this is where all men must ultimately look to reside for fulfillment (“the pillar and foundation of truth” [1 Tm 3:15]).  Know your faith, so, for the inquirer, you will “always be ready to give an explanation to anyone who asks you for a reason for your hope” (1 Pt 3:15) so that others will be led home.

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