Whoever follows the news headlines, likely harbours an unspoken question: who is next to fall from glory? Ours is an era of scepticism. Stories of fraud and corruption are frequent, power brokers are dethroned, and clay feet abound. Human selfishness, greed, and lust for power strut their potency, motivating the actions of individuals and institutions. All too often, we have been disillusioned by someone who purports to share our values; yet falls far short.
At the same time, we long to place our trust in someone who has power and influence and seems to move things in a positive direction. How do we know who is worthy of our trust? In whom can we believe? So many vie for our allegiance, and vetting reveals only so much. Perpetually, we are faced with the task of discernment, making good choices regarding relationships, work, church, life, our beliefs, and contributions to the world.
In this dynamic text, part of a large discourse on authority, Jesus answers his accusers, and religious contemporaries, who have criticised him for breaking the sabbath by healing on that day, and calling ‘God’ father.
His argumentation is stellar. He goes straight to the heart of the issue with passion and exasperation, inviting listeners to consider what is credible and what credentials are for someone purporting to speak authority on religion.
As listeners, learners, educators, and faithful, what can we find in Jesus‘s words that speak to our dilemma? Sifting through his arguments, we discovered potential touchstones to guide us both in weighing the merits of countless and diverse contemporary voices and in shaping our path as we strive to follow Jesus and his example, strengthen our connection to God, honour our calling, speak with integrity about the issues of our day, and bear witness to the love of God in our daily lives.
Giltus Mathias CP is a Passionist priest, he lives at St.Brigid’s Community Marrickville.