The word ‘authority’ goes with prestige, dignity, right, influence, but most of all it equates to power – power that causes many troubles. Some people in authority use this power to extort, corrupt, and abuse people. Some people in authority believe that they are infallible; thus, they do not listen to other people’s ideas.
The word ‘authority’ appears four times in this gospel. The tension between the priests and Jesus was about authority. When the chief priests saw Jesus preaching the people, they immediately frowned upon him for they did not acknowledge Jesus’ authority to do such act since he was not a priest. His teachings also contradicted the traditional teachings of the priests, and they felt insulted because they believed that as priests they were the only ones who had full knowledge in the teachings of the church.
Personally, I believe that people in authority must not only be knowledgeable or expert in the field. People with genuine ‘authority’ are good listeners. They are broad-minded individuals. They do not use their authority to coerce people to do things they do not like to do; instead, they only invite, encourage, and bring out the best in them. Jesus is a perfect example of this image. He did not use his power to force people to believe in him; he allowed them to listen and decide whether to believe him or not. The followers were allowed to express their ideas and doubt. In return, Jesus addressed their doubts indirectly by providing examples like the parables and living as an example as well, so people trust and obey.
Let us be reminded that our power comes from our Creator. We are nothing if not because of Him; therefore, we must always humble ourselves if we are given the position or the ‘authority’. We must keep in mind that we are just instruments of His bigger and better plans for the entire humanity.
Michelle C. Reyes
Faculty, School of Arts and Sciences