Let go and let God – Saturday, 8th Week in ordinary time – Mark 11:27-33

Even though we have just stepped out of the Easter season, the Gospel texts of the 8th and 9th week in ordinary time take us back to Holy Week and the events that took place in the temple of Jerusalem.

Jesus has entered the temple and cleansed it. By the end of Palm Sunday, he makes his way to Bethany and the following day curses the fig tree. (read https://www.pottypadre.com/hangry-friday-8th-week-in-ordinary-time-mark-11-11-26/). He then cleanses the temple calling those who run their business there, ‘robbers.’ While the chief priests and the scribes wanted to ‘kill him’ they had to restrain themselves because the ‘whole crowd was spell bound by his teachings.’ (Mark 11:18)

It is Tuesday of Holy Week and Jesus is back in the temple. This time he is confronted not just by the chief priests and the scribes but for good measure they have also brought the elders as back up. This is a clearly a showdown for they accost Our Lord as he enters the temple. There was no chit chat or greeting just two direct questions; “By what authority are you doing these things? Who gave you this authority?” I have addressed this entire debate in a previous article and I suggest you read it by clicking this link. https://www.pottypadre.com/checkmate/

The last prophetic voice before John the Baptist was four hundred years ago. In this time rose several religiously oriented groups who bandied their interpretation of the Jewish faith which could be well described as more traditions and less God. As religious groups, they began well focusing on God. In time they lost the plot if not the way.

In the Gospel of Matthew 5:21-48, Jesus takes on these interpretations of the law when six times he says, “you have heard it said…but I say to you.” Now, that authority they had, seems to be slipping from their hands with Jesus confronting them all through his pastoral ministry and even more now when he is on their home ground; the temple of Jerusalem. The Jewish religious authorities could feel the sand shifting under their feet for scripture tells us that “the whole crowd was spell bound by his teaching.”

Jealousy and the lust for power are dangerous in the hands of those who crave for it. A person who feels the loss of power will stop at nothing, conveniently even using God to justify why Jesus should be put to death. Remember it was the chief priest who sanctioned the death of Jesus by saying, “it is better that one man die for the nation.” Caiaphas was not concerned about the nation; he was concerned about retaining his post as chief priest; a post that had to have the approval of the Romans and for this he compromised every value sanctioning even he death of the Messiah

It is important that we learn to let go and let God. I have commented several times on this matter advocating vociferously for members of the clergy and laity to step down from posts when they know that they ought to. Clinging on to a seat of authority in the church make us no different than the politicians we abhor. Pope Benedict XVI showed the way; for authority is not given to us to rule and dominate but to serve. If you know you have done your time, step away! Do not cling to the illusion that the Church or any of the ministries that you serve as members of the laity or of the clergy will collapse without you. The reality is that they may be collapsing because of you!

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