Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Reflections for the 33rd Week in Ordinary Time, Part 2

Thursday – Jesus Weeps

Picture Jesus looking out over the city of Jerusalem, the spiritual home of thousands upon thousands of Jews over the centuries. The city has long been the site of the Temple where God's presence dwelt in the Holy of Holies and where the Jews offered sacrifices to God to atone for their sins. 

Now as Jesus stands, gazing at Jerusalem, He begins to weep. The Jews have rejected Him, the only One Who can bring them the peace they so long for. They have turned their backs on God's Messiah. They have failed to recognize their visitation from God Himself, the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity, Jesus Christ. Instead, they remain fixated on their own ideas of who the Messiah should be and what He should do. 

And they will live to regret it. The consequences of their rejection of Jesus will fall hard upon them. Jesus, Who knows exactly what is going to happen, explains that the enemies of the Jews will lay siege to Jerusalem and smash it to the ground. They “will not leave one stone upon another,” and many people will die. 

Jesus' predictions came true in 70 A.D., when the Romans crashed into Jerusalem, destroying the city, pulling down the Temple, and killing thousands of people. The devastated Jews scattered, but many still refused to accept their Messiah. 

No wonder Jesus weeps. 

Friday – Hanging on Jesus' Words

Jesus adds a good bit of drama to the Gospel in today's reading. He enters into the Temple area, and drives out all the people selling animals for sacrifice or operating as money-changers. Other Gospels provide further details about Jesus actually making a whip out of cords to serve His purposes and even turning over tables. 

Why is Jesus so ticked off? He explains that all these entrepreneurs have filled an old prophecy: “My house shall be a house of prayer, but you have made it a den of thieves.” The Temple is meant to be a place of encounter between God and His people, but instead, it has become a site of corruption and greed.

Needless to say, the Jewish leaders are not at all pleased by Jesus' actions or words. They are ready to get rid of Him permanently, but they hesitate. Why? The common people are hanging on Jesus' words.

Hanging on Jesus' words... These people are seeking something, seeking Someone, and they are finding the answer to their longings in Jesus. Probably without even understanding why, they are attracted to His teachings. They recognize truth in His words. They feel His love. They understand that there is something special about Him. They may not know exactly what, but they can't help listening to Him. 

Do we hang on Jesus' words? They are at our finger tips if only we open our Bibles. The whole of Scripture speaks of Jesus in one way or another, either predicting His coming, describing His life, death, and Resurrection, or chronicling the growth of His Church. In fact, Jesus Himself actually speaks to us through the Scriptures, which, as Dei Verbum says, have God as their Author. 

But do we listen? Do we read Scripture? Do we meditate deeply on what we find there? Do we pray in response in order to make our reading a true dialogue? Do we hang on Jesus' words? 

Saturday – Rejoicing in Salvation

“I will rejoice in Your salvation, O Lord.”

Jesus, thank You for dying for me. You wouldn't have had to, but You loved me even when I was in my sins, and You died for me. I love You.

“I will rejoice in Your salvation, O Lord.”

Jesus, thank You for pouring sanctifying grace, Your very divine life, into my soul when I was baptized. May I never lose that grace.

“I will rejoice in Your salvation, O Lord.”

Jesus, thank You for forgiving my sins when I repent and confess and for always bringing me back into Your loving arms.

“I will rejoice in Your salvation, O Lord.”

Jesus, thank You for giving Yourself to me, Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity, in the Eucharist. May I always receive You worthily and meet You with great love in the depths of my heart.

“I will rejoice in Your salvation, O Lord.”

Jesus, thank You for hearing and answering every one of my prayers. I trust You, Lord, recognizing that You know what is best in every situation.

“I will rejoice in Your salvation, O Lord.”

Jesus, thank You for opening the gates of Heaven. Please, Lord, bring me and all of my loved ones home some day to praise and rejoice with You forever in love.


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