Good morning, my name is Sr. Patricia Cigrand, Pastoral Associate here at St. Bridget of Sweden Parish. I have been asked to share some reflections on today’s readings. It is an unusual group of Scriptures.
The first reading is from the book of Numbers in the OT. Balaam, who is giving the oracle, is really a shady character. He is a non-Jew who began interpreting dreams, later became a magician and finally a spirit of prophecy descended upon him.
He was offered money by the Moabite King Balak to curse the Israelites who were on the plains of Moab. However, beyond his control, he utters a blessing. God has the upper hand. Later the Israelites succumb to the seductions of the Moabites and break the covenant. This always means disaster.
Then in the Gospel we find the chief priests and elders trying to trip up Jesus. He does not fall into their trap. They ask him where he gets his authority to teach. He proposes a question to them. If they answer it, he will respond to their question. However, they realize in answering it they will be trapped. So the message is don’t tangle with Jesus!
What can we learn from these readings? The Israelites are tempted by their surroundings and by false idols. How do we navigate the treacherous waters around us? The Gospel message gives us the solution. We must not only tangle with Jesus but we must develop a personal relationship with Him.
We do this through daily prayer, through receiving the sacrament of His love, the Eucharist, through pondering Scripture and by following His example of going about doing good. The Responsorial Psalm says:” Lord teach us your ways.” Advent is a time to draw closer to Him and to allow Him to teach us his ways. Then we will be rewarded with His peace and joy!