“A star shall come forth out of Jacob.”
A reading from the Book of Numbers (Numbers 24: 2-7, 15-17a)
In those days: Balaam lifted up his eyes, and saw Israel encamping tribe by tribe. And the Spirit of God came upon him, and he took up his discourse, and said, “The oracle of Balaam the son of Beor, the oracle of the man whose eye is opened, the oracle of him who hears the words of God, who sees the vision of the Almighty, falling down, but having his eyes uncovered: How fair are your tents, O Jacob, your encampments, O Israel! Like valleys that stretch afar, like gardens beside a river, like aloes that the Lord has planted, like cedar trees beside the waters. Water shall flow from his buckets, and his seed shall be in many waters, his king shall be higher than Agag, and his kingdom shall be exalted.” And he took up his discourse, and said, “The oracle of Balaam the son of Beor, the oracle of the man whose eye is opened, the oracle of him who hears the words of God, and knows the knowledge of the Most High, who sees the vision of the Almighty, falling down, but having his eyes uncovered: I see him, but not now; I behold him, but not near: a star shall come forth out of Jacob, and a sceptre shall rise out of Israel.”
The word of the Lord.
RESPONSORIAL PSALM (Psalm 25:4-5ab.6 and 7cd.8—9 (R. 4b)
R/. Teach me your paths, O Lord.
O Lord, make me know your ways.
Teach me your paths.
Guide me in your truth, and teach me;
for you are the God of my salvation. R/.
Remember your compassion, O Lord,
and your merciful love, for they are from of old.
In your merciful love remember me,
because of your goodness, O Lord. R/.
R/. Teach me your paths, O Lord.
Good and upright is the Lord;
he shows the way to sinners.
He guides the humble in right judgement;
to the humble he teaches his way. R/.
ALLELUIA (Psalm 85:8)
Alleluia. Alleluia. Let us see, O Lord, your mercy, and grant us your salvation Alleluia.
“The baptism of John, where was it from?”
A reading from the holy Gospel according to Matthew (Matthew 21:23-27)
At that time: When Jesus entered the temple, the chief priests and the elders of the people came up to him as he was teaching, and said, “By what authority are you doing these things, and who gave you this authority?” Jesus answered them, “I also will ask you a question; and if you tell me the answer, then I also will tell you by what authority I do these things. The baptism of John, where was it from? From heaven or from men?” And they argued with one another, “If we say, ‘From heaven,’ he will say to us, ‘Why then did you not believe him?’ But if we say, ‘From men,’ we are afraid of the multitude; for all hold that John was a prophet.” So they answered Jesus, “We do not know. ”And he said to them, “Neither will I tell you by what authority I do these things.”
The Gospel of the Lord.
The first reading reports the joy at a fruitful harvest. In the second reading Jesus dismisses the Jewish leaders by throwing an important question back to them: what is the origin of the baptism of John? The lesson is that we should not allow reason and faith to be at loggerheads. Reason helps us to acquire knowledge and to make sound and responsible choices. However we should not stop there. We must equally have faith in those things which are beyond reason but revealed by God. Sound seasoning and in-depth faith do not contradict. They are necessary ingredients for a healthy living as children of God.
Lord, grant that our human knowledge will never cloud our faith in you.