Friday of the 33rd Week in Ordinary Time [I]

Here is the homily prepared for the IHM Sisters for November 20, 2015.

Friday of the 33rd Week in Ordinary Time [I]
1 Maccabees 4:36-37, 52-59  +  Luke 19:45-48
November 20, 2015

“And every day He was teaching in the temple area.”

Many in Jesus’ day were disgusted with the commercialism that had crept into the practices at the Temple in Jerusalem.  This place, the Temple, was the holiest place in this world for Jews.  One of the obligations of a good Jew in the time of Jesus was to go to Jerusalem at the time of Passover, and offer a sacrifice in the Temple:  those who were wealthy offered an entire ox or sheep; those with less means offered turtledoves.  And so there grew up a very large market during the time around Passover, a system within which many abuses developed.  Jesus undoubtedly had many people cheering for Him as He castigated the Jewish officials and the money-makers in the Temple.

But how many people cheered for Him when the Jews asked for a sign from Jesus, and He replied, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up”?  Probably some were baffled.  Likely, some became angry at Jesus:  here He had purified the Temple, and now—so it seemed—He wanted to destroy it?  The Scriptures go on to tell us that Jesus’ own disciples only came to understand his words after His Resurrection.  So we only imagine what those who did not know Jesus well thought of these words.  For ourselves, Christ is the Temple, of which we are part through the Church.  We need to allow God’s grace to purify ourselves as Jesus cleansed the Temple, so that right sacrifice might be offered there.