Fr Paul reads from the Gospel of Mark (11: 27-33) when Jesus is approached by the Chief Priests, scribes and elders in the Temple and asked by whose authority he acts.

In Judaism, possibly by this time, a rabbi was authorised by his teacher by the laying on of hands, which signified the passing on of authority.  You could also, then, see a chain of authority and lines of authority being formed.  The scribes and the Pharisees are asking who ordained Jesus, what authority did he have?  The question becomes, will they accept divine intervention from outside their own rigid lines and channels?

Jesus quite cleverly asks a question about John the Baptist’s baptism. The scribes and the Pharisees, we learn, did not believe that John the Baptist had a message from God. Jesus reasons that if they did not acknowledge the source of John’s authority then there was no point in declaring where his authority came from.

Again, Fr Paul notes, the scene is set for a confrontation between the scribes and Pharisees and with Jesus.