Posted by: RAM | November 20, 2014

Friday (November 21): “My house shall be a house of prayer.”

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita!
Month of the Holy Souls
Memorial of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary
Feastday of the Canonization of Saint Brother Jaime Hilario, FSC
Friday of the Thirty-Third Week in Ordinary Time
35 Days Before Christmas
55 Days Before the Visit of Pope Francis to the Philippines

First Reading: Revelation 10:8-11
Psalms 119:14-131: How sweet to my taste is your promise!
Gospel: Luke 19:45-48

Jesus entered the temple area and proceeded to drive out
those who were selling things, saying to them,
“It is written, My house shall be a house of prayer,
but you have made it a den of thieves
.”
And every day he was teaching in the temple area.
The chief priests, the scribes, and the leaders of the people, meanwhile,
were seeking to put him to death,
but they could find no way to accomplish their purpose
because all the people were hanging on his words. http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/112114.cfm

Reflection:  What enables us to live in peace and harmony with God and with one another? The Father in heaven sent his only begotten Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, to reconcile us with God and to unite us with one another in a bond of peace and mutual love. Jesus’ earthly ministry centers and culminates in Jerusalem, which Scripture describes as the holy city and throne of God on earth (Jeremiah 3:17), and the place which God chose for his name to dwell (1Kings 11:13; 2 Kings 21:4; 2 Kings 23:27),  and the holy mountain upon which God has set his king (Psalm 2:6). Jerusalem derives its name from the word “salem” which mean “peace”. The temple in Jerusalem was a constant reminder to the people of God’s presence with them.

Tears of mourning and sorrow over sin and refusal to believe in God
When Jesus approached Jerusalem and saw the multitude of homes surrounding the holy temple, he wept over it because it inhabitants did not “know the things that make for peace” (Luke 19:42). As he poured out his heart to the Father in heaven, Jesus shed tears of sorrow, grief, and mourning for his people. He knew that he would soon pour out his blood for the people of Jerusalem and for the whole world as well.

Why does Jesus weep and lament over the city of Jerusalem? Throughout its long history, many rulers and inhabitants had rejected the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord because of their pride and unbelief. Now they refuse to accept Jesus as their Messiah whom God anointed to be their Savior and Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6).

Jesus is our only hope – the only one who can save us and the world
Jesus’ entrance into Jerusalem was a gracious visitation of God’s anointed King to his holy city. Jerusalem’s lack of faith and rejection of the Messiah, however, leads to its eventual devastation and destruction by the Romans in 70 A.D. Jesus’ lamentation and prophecy echoes the lamentation of Jeremiah who prophesied the first destruction of Jerusalem and its temple. Jeremiah’s prayer of lamentation offered a prophetic word of hope, deliverance, and restoration: “But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope: The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, his mercies are new every morning …For the Lord will not cast off for ever, but, though he cause grief, he will have compassion according to the abundance of his steadfast love for he does not willingly afflict or grieve the sons of men” (Lamentations 3:21-22, 31-32).

Jesus is the hope of the world because he is the only one who can truly reconcile us with God and with one another. Through his death and resurrection Jesus breaks down the walls of hostility and division by reconciling us with God. He gives us his Holy Spirit both to purify us and restore us as a holy people of God. Through Christ we become living temples of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 6:19).  God has visited his people in the past and he continues to visit us through the gift and working of his Holy Spirit. Do you recognize God’s gracious visitation today?

God judges, pardons, heals, and restores us to new life
When God visits his people he comes to establish peace and justice for us by rooting out the sin which cling to us. The Lord sets us free from all the forces that seek to lead us  away from God and his will for our lives. Scripture calls these sinful forces (1 John 2:15-16, and 1 John5:19) the world – that society of people who are opposed to God and his ways, the flesh – our own sinful cravings or inordinate desires that lead us into sin, and thedevil (called Satan and the father of lis) who tempts us to go our own way apart from God. God judges sin and  he purifies his people to heal and restore us to his way of holiness, peace, and love. God our Father disciplines those whom he loves for our good so that we may share his holiness (Hebrews 12:6,10).

Are God’s judgments unjust or unloving? Scripture tells us that “when God’s judgments are revealed in the earth, the inhabitants of the world learn righteousness” (Isaiah 26:9). To pronounce judgment on sin is much less harsh than what will happen if those who sin are not warned to repent. The Lord in his mercy gives us grace and time to turn away from sin, but that time is right now. If we delay, even for a moment, we may discover that grace has passed us by and our time is up. Do you accept the grace and strength God gives to help us to turn away from sin and to walk in his way of love and holiness?

“Lord Jesus, you have visited and redeemed your people. May I not miss the grace of your visitation today as you move to bring your people into greater righteousness and holiness of life. Purify my heart and mind that I may I understand your ways and conform my life more fully to your will. Why did Jesus drive out the money changers in the temple at Jerusalem? Was he upset with their greediness? This is the only incident in the Gospels where we see Jesus using physical force. Jesus went to Jerusalem, knowing he would meet certain death on the cross, but victory as well for our sake. His act of judgment in the temple is meant to be a prophetic sign and warning to the people that God takes our worship very seriously. In this incident we see Jesus’ startling and swift action in cleansing the temple of those who were using it to exploit the worshipers of God. The money changers took advantage of the poor and forced them to pay many times more than was right – in the house of God no less! Their robbery of the poor was not only dishonoring to God but unjust toward their neighbor.

In justification for his audacious action Jesus quotes from the prophets Isaiah (Isaiah 56:7) and Jeremiah (Jeremiah 7:11). His act of judgment aims to purify the worship of God’s people and to discipline their erring ways. Despite the objections of the religious leaders, no doubt because Jesus was usurping their authority in the house of God, the people who listened to Jesus teaching daily in the temple regarded him with great awe and respect. Luke tells us that “they hung upon Jesus’ words” (Luke 19:48)How hungry are you for God’s word?

If we approach God’s word with a humble attentive heart and with a willingness to be taught by the Lord, then we are in a good place to allow God’s word to change and transform us in the likeness of Christ. The Lord wants to teach us his ways so that we may grow in holiness. The Lord both instructs and disciplines us in love to lead us from the error of our sinful ways to his truth and justice. “God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in his holiness” (Hebrews 12:10). The Lord calls us to be a holy people who worship him with reverence and gratitude for his great mercy and kindness towards us. Do you allow God’s word to transform you in his way of love and holiness?

“Lord Jesus, you open wide the door of your house and you bid us to enter confidently that we may worship you in spirit and truth. Help me to draw near to you with gratitude and joy for your great mercy. May I always revere your word and give you acceptable praise and worship.” http://www.rc.net/wcc/readings/nov21.htm http://www.dailyscripture.net author Don Schwager © 2014 Servants of the Word

Feast of the Day: Presentation of Mary

Mary’s presentation was celebrated in Jerusalem in the sixth century. A church was built there in honor of this mystery. The Eastern Church was more interested in the feast, but it does appear in the West in the 11th century. Although the feast at times disappeared from the calendar, in the 16th century it became a feast of the universal Church.

As with Mary’s birth, we read of Mary’s presentation in the temple only in apocryphal literature. In what is recognized as an unhistorical account, theProtoevangelium of James tells us that Anna and Joachim offered Mary to God in the Temple when she was three years old. This was to carry out a promise made to God when Anna was still childless.

Though it cannot be proven historically, Mary’s presentation has an important theological purpose. It continues the impact of the feasts of the Immaculate Conception (December 8) and of the birth of Mary (September 8). It emphasizes that the holiness conferred on Mary from the beginning of her life on earth continued through her early childhood and beyond. http://www.americancatholic.org/features/saints/saint.aspx?id=1206&calendar=1

More Saints of the Day

Let me be the change I want to be. Even if I am not the light, I can be the spark. RAM

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