Between the gospel and the first reading is found the fundamental choice that we make not once be every day. In the gospel the chief priests and the scribes do not respond to Jesus because
we fear the people
In the first reading we have the story of Balaam, a non-Israelite, who is a diviner. The story takes place toward the end of the 40 years of wandering. Balaam's king wishes for him to come out and curse the Israelites who are marching through his land.
The King Balak is disappointed at what he gets
And Balak said to Balaam, “What have you done to me? I took you to curse my enemies, and behold, you have done nothing but bless them.”
And he answered, “Must I not take heed to speak what the LORD puts in my mouth?”
The chief priests and scribes will not speak the truth because of fear. Balaam has every reason to fear the king but must speak the word of God.
How often are we the chief priests and scribes, we do not speak out because we fear what people will think of us? The strange thing is that the people we often fear most are our friends and family members. We keep our mouths shut because they may not like what we have to say.
Sometimes we should keep our mouths shut because what we are expressing is merely our opinion, but if we know that there is a truth that needs to be spoken, then we need to have the courage of Balaam.
It is also worth noting that the courageous words of Balaam were not words of condemnation but words of blessing. He had the courage to bless the foreigners, the people his people did not like. Being prophetic does not mean condemning and being negative, sometimes the prophetic voice is the voice of love,the voice of hope.