Reflection on Readings for Sat 1st June 2024 – Fr Kevin O’Gorman SMA

First Reading: Jude 1: 17, 20b-25
Responsorial Psalm: Psalms 63: 2, 3-4, 5-6
Alleluia: Colossians 3: 16a, 17c
Gospel: Mark 11: 27-33

In today’s reading from his Gospel Mark summarizes the conflict between Jesus and the chief priests, scribes and elders as one of authority. They want to know where Jesus’ authority comes from, especially about his ability – as they say – ‘to do these things’.  If their anxiety was about the interpretation of the Law it might be manageable, though the doctrinal snipers lurk around corners and hide behind ditches in every age, even in our own time. After the doubters and those needing to be dragged from the fire, such snipers are those Saint Jude warns about, ‘to whom you must be kind with great caution’ even to having no traces of external contact, avoiding them at all times on account of their theological toxicity.

Jesus puts this warning into practice, refusing to play their political game and answer on their terms. Jesus doesn’t need to assert his authority for his actions speak for themselves and for his words. However, he turns the tables on his interrogators asking them about the baptism of John. Caught between the proverbial rock and hard place they are put in a conundrum. They don’t know who to please, God or people. Their basic dishonesty is put on display and they will double their efforts to destroy Jesus, ending in their conspiracy to crucify him.

Despite this sinful scenario both the Psalmist and Saint Jude propose a blessed state of affairs, the former proclaiming that human longing for transcendence and truth is fulfilled by God whose ‘love is better than life’, the latter glorifying God ‘who can keep you from falling and bring you safe to his glorious presence, innocent and happy’. This reading from the Letter of Saint Jude, the penultimate and probably least familiar book in the New Testament, leaves us with hope, the hallmark that attests the authority of Jesus in the Holy Spirit.

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