Saturday of the 8th Week in Ordinary Time – June 1st 2024

Jude 17, 20b-25; Mk 11, 27-33

Memory of Saint Justin, martyr


          In our reading of Mark's Gospel, we have now reached chapter eleven, which began with Jesus' triumphal entry into Jerusalem. And in the story we are reading today, we have a fine example of Jesus' confrontation with the scribes and the elders of the people. A confrontation that will continue to escalate and lead to Jesus' death on the Cross.

          The central issue in this confrontation is the question of authority. The chief priests, the scribes and the elders (all together, if we follow Mark's text) ask Jesus by what authority he freely teaches in the Temple. What undoubtedly troubled them was the fact that he was teaching ‘with authority’. On the other hand, they carefully avoided having the people against them, as in their attitude to John the Baptist, because they recognized a certain authority in the people.

          For the first reading, we had a passage from the letter of Jude, which is in fact the only passage of this short text that we have in the liturgical lectionary. This Jude is not the apostle Jude, but the brother of James, one of those whom the New Testament calls the ‘brothers of the Lord’, that is, members of his extended family. It is one of the last writings to be recognized by the early Church as inspired writing, part of Sacred Scripture or the Word of God.

          And then, according to the liturgical calendar, today we remember Saint Justin. He was a lay philosopher who came to the Christian faith as an adult, and who bore witness to his faith through martyrdom. His authority was soon recognized by the universal Church.

Armand Veilleux