Reflection on Today’s Daily Readings by Fr. Bertrand Buby, SM
Scripture: April 27, Lectionary # 280:
Jesus loved Jerusalem and the Temple. He wept over it as he neared the end
of his life. Both the city and the temple were sacred places both for the
Israelites and for the community that the apostles and Jesus left behind.
The first Christians worshipped in the Temple at the hours of prayer. In
John’s Gospel we have the only reference to Jesus walking during the winter
in the porticoed halls near the temple. This will be his last winter
before his death at the hands of the Romans who will within a few
generations destroy the Temple and the city of Jerusalem.
In our reading from Acts we learn of two great men led by the Spirit who
are at Antioch where the name Christian will be used for the first time.
They will soon journey to Jerusalem to settle with the founding pillars of
the Jerusalem Christian community what precisely will be required of the
Gentile who are streaming into the Church that Luke describes from its
beginning. We are still in those fresh opening pages of the Acts where the
growth of the Church is outstanding and almost miraculous. One thing we
know that all of these different peoples, cities and cultures are focused
on their belief that Jesus is Lord and Messiah. He is certainly remembered
as being in Jerusalem not so many years ago. John tells us about his being
there during the winter and the feast of the Dedication which today is
celebrated by the Jewish people as Hanukkah.
Many Psalms speak about and sing about Jerusalem. Today’s is a perfect
example of the praise of the holy city which is also called Zion or Mount
Zion. Even Mary the Mother of Jesus is celebrated in our tradition as our
Lady of Zion. The city itself is compared frequently to a city and her
walls to the womb that encloses all people who have come to worhip within
those sacred walls. She gathers them all into her warm and loving arms. No
wonder Jesus wept over her demise. The Psalm goes on to say, “My home is
within you.” There are almost twenty psalms that mention the holy city as
Zion. Today it is also symbolic of Israel.
We walk with Jesus during his last winter and listen to the last part of
his discourse on the Good Shepherd. His words identify who he is and even
seem to mirror what will be said at his trial as he answers the high
priest. We identify with him and as another part of scripture says we are
all sons and daughters of God. No one will snatch us from the hand of the
Son because no one can snatch them from the Father with whom Jesus is one.
One last thought about the Dedication Feast called Hanukkah. It celebrates
the purification of the Temple by Judas Maccabaeus. We can “renew”
ourselves through this part of the Gospel and dedicate ourselves to God and
to Jesus just as Jesus is consecrated and dedicated by the Father. Amen