18TH NOVEMBER 2021
IT IS THE PEOPLE THAT DEFINE A PLACE.
1 MACCABEES 2:15-29
In order to understand today's Gospel reading, we have to go back a few verses before it so as to know that Jesus is closer to entering Jerusalem. Let us recall that in Luke
9:51-56 that Jesus had set his face to go to Jerusalem.
Other Bible translations put it this way: As the time drew near when Jesus would be taken up to heaven, he made up his mind and set out on his way to Jerusalem. It means there is a purpose that takes him to Jerusalem and this purpose is pointed out in Luke 13:33 that it is not right for a prophet to be killed anywhere except in Jerusalem.
Also prior to today's Gospel reading, as Jesus came near to Jerusalem, we are told by the evangelist Luke that a large crowd of his disciples began to thank God and praise him in loud voices for all the great things that they had seen seeing saying
" God bless the King who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven and glory to God. " This makes some Pharisees in the crowd to tell Jesus to command his disciples to be quiet but this is what Israel' s kings did, they arrived in style, it was a political act .This is not the opposite of human expectations of a king.
This is exactly what the people were expecting and so to
Jesus it was a spiritual act.
With this background in mind, we hear in today's Gospel reading that Jesus wept over Jerusalem because it did not recognize the time of its visitation from God. The time of this visitation had the intention of bringing salvation.
In the Bible, all visitations from God bring salvation. The angel of God visiting Mary, then Joseph, then Zechariah, we also know that Jesus visited Mary and Martha after the death of their brother Lazarus, all those visits brought salvation.
If Jerusalem rejected salvation thus making Jesus weep, over what can we weep that we have rejected?
The cry of Jesus in today's Gospel passage was not in vain. He cried for something that he valued and loved but was now not living according to it's purpose.
Jerusalem does not mean the city in terms of infrastructure but in a deeper sense it is about the inhabitants of the city and their attitude towards what is right and just and their way of life before God which are challenged, no wonder the Pharisees want the disciples of
Jesus to be silent.
When the disciples recognize Jesus as the King it makes the Pharisees realize that they have missed out on the spiritual peace and salvation that Jesus brought as a spiritual king.
If Jerusalem did not know the time of its visitation, what about us in regards to where we are at the moment? We all have places and things that we value due to the sentiments that they evoke.Jerusalem evoked the presence of God because the Temple was in Jerusalem and the Temple signified the presence of God in the midst of the people.
How will we feel if those sentiments are no longer tenable due to our own whims talking over in total disregard of the spiritual peace and salvation that God avails to us? No wonder in tomorrow's Gospel passage Jesus will drive out those conducting business in the Temple which is not the Temple's purpose. Over what things should we cry when they do not serve their purpose?