33rd Week in Ord.
Time, Friday – 20th November 2020 — Gospel: Lk 19,45-48
Resistance or Openness
As God’s Messiah, Jesus takes possession of
the temple, seeking to cleanse it from impurities and declaring what it should
be. Jesus first cites Isaiah, expressing the divine hope that the temple will
be “a house of prayer for all peoples” (Is 56,7). He contrasts what the temple
should have been, a house of prayer for Israelites and foreigners; and what it
has become, a commercial centre to benefit the powerful priestly aristocracy.
Jesus then cites Jeremiah, condemning those who have made the temple “a den of
robbers” (Jer 7,11). The religious leaders have become robbers, enriching
themselves from the temple worship. Through this prophetic action, Jesus
symbolically expresses his protest of those who would use God’s temple for
profit rather than prayer. He upholds his preference for relationship with God
through prayer. For this reason, the
religious leaders sought a way to put Jesus to death. They immediately
dismissed him as a radical and fanatic, without just reason. On the other hand, his listeners, however,
were amazed by Jesus and hung on his every word.
33rd Week in Ord.
Time, Thursday – 19th November 2020 — Gospel: Lk 19,41-44
Judgment of Mercy
Jesus predicts the terrible judgment that
would come on Jerusalem. He had visited this sacred place frequently during his
earthly life. It is here that he was presented to God as an infant, in
fulfillment of the Jewish law. He had spent time talking with the Jewish
leaders when he was 12 years old. Jerusalem is where the Jewish people believed
God dwelled in a special way. As Jesus looks at the city of Jerusalem, he
realizes that this place will soon be no more and so he wept. The word used
here is stronger than in John 11,35, where Jesus quietly wept at the tomb of
Lazarus. The word here means loud cry of agony. God does not delight in
judgement, but in mercy. He is not willing that anything should perish, but
that all would come to repentance. He is slow to anger and abounding in love
toward every sinner (Ex 34,6-7). Yet he is also the righteous judge. This
mystery is nicely expressed by Wordsworth, “Christ here proves his twofold
nature by shedding tears as man, for what he foretold as God.” Jerusalem’s day
of grace was rapidly ending and a time of terrible judgement was approaching,
because they did not recognize the time of their visitation (19,44).