Daily Readings Reflection for 5/17/11


Scripture: Lectionary # 280. Acts 11:19-26. Psalm 87:1-3.4-5.6-7. John

Tuesday’s Readings

Sacred places are significant in our lives.  For the Gentiles who were
converted to belief in Jesus the city of Antioch in Syria was a sacred
place.  They were instructed by Barnabas and Paul and it was at Antioch
that the term “Christian” was used for the first time. We learn this from
the conclusion of our first reading: “It was in Antioch that the disciples
were called Christians (followers of Christ) for the first time. (Acts
11:26). Peter would become the first overseer at Antioch (their first

The Psalm and its response sing of the sacred place called Mount Zion or
Jerusalem.  This Psalm is frequently sung at feasts of the Blessed Virgin
Mary who is celebrated as the “Daughter of Zion.”  The verses and the
refrain are very musical and beautiful in both the English and the Hebrew
original.  Even the Gentiles revere and come up to Mount Zion to worship
and all are called to be sons and daughters of Zion.  “Glorious things are
said of you, O city of God.”

Jesus walks on Mount Zion in the temple area– a very sacred place then and
now for the three monotheistic religions of Islam, Judaism, and
Christianity.  He walks during the cool and even cold rainy season on the
feast of the Dedication.  He teaches openly there and many are wondering
whether he is the Messiah; others are threatened by what he says and often
interpret him wrongly even thinking that he says he would destroy the
temple and three days raise it up.  He was speaking of the temple of his
own body!  Jesus is speaking openly about his relationship to God, his
Father.  He tells them and us that he and the Father are one!  John is very
explicit about the divinity of Jesus and we are hearing the living voice of
the Word made flesh in his Gospel. Jesus is both human and divine in all
that those terms mean.

Earlier in his Gospel, John has given us the scene where Jesus keeps holy
the temple by driving out the money changers and the merchants who seem to
always infringe on shrines and holy places with their merchandise or their
buying and selling–even today as we know at Ephesus, Rome, or near the
shrine of Elijah near Haifa.  Jesus zeal burned for the sacredness of the
temple.  Even as a young lad of twelve he had great devotion to this sacred
place. (Luke 2:40-51).

We may ask ourselves where is our sacred place where we are prayerful,
reverent, and recollected?  Where is it that we can find peace and joy in a
sacred space or place?  Is the temple of our heart a sacred place that is
open to the silence and warmth of God within it?  Do we have some sacred
time to listen to the living voice of God or do we need to leave aside some
of the noise that we choose to listen to?  Can we ponder over these words
of our Psalm this day?  “And all shall sing in their festive dance, “My
home is within you.” Psalm 87:7. Amen. Alleluiah!


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