In Mark's first chapter the crowds are amazed at how Jesus speaks with authority and touches their hearts; they recognize the truth of what he says, without asking for his credentials, and turn to him in hope. In John's gospel (10:14-16), Jesus would say that his sheep know his voice; they recognize, trust, and follow him even in the darkness.
In Mark's eleventh chapter, from which we read today, the chief priests, scribes, and elders question that authority, asking about a slightly different meaning of the word even though "authority" is the same word in the original Greek in both cases. These men are, to a certain extent and on an official level, justified in asking for Jesus' authorization, but they should have been able to get beyond that to reach the heart of the question, as the crowds had already done.
And us? Do we recognize Jesus' voice and follow him because we have known him? Or do we ask for proofs and explanations and reasonings before we accept him? Which did we come closer to doing when we fell into love and gave our selves to merely human others?
We need to pray in that simple manner that a very young child has in sitting with his or her parents, listening carefully and becoming familiar with their ways, learning to trust them. And in our prayer, let us ask that we learn to recognize and respond to the voice of our Father's Son, that we accept Him as our Shepherd and that we let Him gently teach us who He is and lead us home.
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