Readings 20141109

The following reflection is courtesy of Don Schwager (c) 2014, whose website is located at DailyScripture.net

What can keep us from the presence of God? Jesus’ dramatic cleansing of the temple was seen by his disciples as a prophetic sign of God’s action. The temple was understood as the dwelling place of God among his people. When God delivered his people from slavery in Egypt, he brought them through the sea, and finally to Mount Sinai where he made a covenant with them and gave them a new way of life embodied in the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20:1-17). God gave Moses instruction for worship and for making the Tabernacle, or tent of meeting, which was later replaced by the temple. The New Testament tells us that these “serve as a copy and shadow of the heavenly sanctuary” – God’s Temple in heaven (Hebrews 8:5). Jesus’ cleansing of the temple is also a prophetic sign of what he wants to do with each of us. He ever seeks to cleanse us of sin and make us living temples of his Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 6:19). Do you want to be holy as God is holy?

Jesus burns with zeal for his Father’s house Jesus referred to the temple as his Father’s house which was being made into a “house of trade” (John 2:16) or “den of robbers” (Mark 11:17). That is why he used physical force to expel the money-chargers. The prophecy of Malachi foretold the coming of the Lord unexpectedly to his Temple to “purify the sons of Levi and refine them like gold and silver, till they present right offerings to the Lord” (Malachi 3:1-4). Jesus’ disciples recalled the words of Psalm 69: “Zeal for your house will consume me.” This was understood as a Messianic prophecy. Here the disciples saw more clearly Jesus as the Messiah who burned with zeal for God’s house.

The Jewish authorities, however, wanted proof that Jesus had divine authority to act as he did. They demanded a sign from God to prove Jesus right, otherwise, they would treat him as an imposter and a usurper of their authority. Jesus replied that the sign God would give would be Jesus’ death on the cross and resurrection from the tomb: “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” The Jews did not understand that the temple Jesus referred to was his own body. The “tent of his body” had to be destroyed to open the way to the presence of God for us. The Lord Jesus makes us temples of the Holy Spirit Through his death and resurrection, Jesus not only reconciles us with God, but he fills us with his Holy Spirit and makes us temples of the living God (1 Corinthians 6:19-20). God’s word enlightens our minds and purifies our hearts that we may offer God fitting worship and enjoy his presence both now and forever. Do you burn with zeal for the Lord’s house? “Lord Jesus Christ, you open wide the door of your Father’s house and you bid us to enter confidently that we may worship in spirit and truth. Help me to draw near to your throne of mercy with gratitude and joy.”

The following reflection is courtesy of PresentationMinistries.com (c) 2014. Their website is located at PresentationMinistries.com  

INSPECT YOUR CHURCH’S FOUNDATION  

“Everyone, however, must be careful how he builds. No one can lay a foundation other than the one that has been laid, namely Jesus Christ.” —1 Corinthians 3:10-11  

Jesus began the Church with twelve apostles (see Mt 16:18). By the power of the Holy Spirit, these apostles and other disciples of Christ formed other small Christian communities (see Acts 2:42). These communities were united with the Lord and the other Christian communities through the bishops of their regions. After almost three hundred years of living in small communities and meeting in homes, the Church was called by the Holy Spirit to build a church building (i.e. St. John Lateran). Thus, a network of deep, developed small Christian communities is the historical and spiritual foundation and inspiration for the building of churches. In the western part of the world, we have many great church buildings. Yet we have the breakdown of Christian community. Under these conditions, our beautiful church buildings can present problems, as is the case with any structure whose foundation is eroding. This does not mean that we should neglect or destroy our church buildings. However, we had better repent, give our lives to Jesus, and let the Holy Spirit build Christian community among us. Our church buildings will manifest our downfall spiritually unless we have a new Pentecost of Christian community. Come, Holy Spirit!  

Prayer: Father, send the Holy Spirit to make us one. Promise: “His disciples recalled the words of Scripture: ‘Zeal for Your house consumes Me.’ ” —Jn 2:17 Praise: Praise be to You, Jesus, Savior of all mankind, Who will lead us into everlasting glory!   (For a related teaching, order our booklet Introduction to Small Christian Communities or on audio tapes AV 76-1, AV 76-3 or video V-76.)   

Rescript: In accord with the Code of Canon Law, I hereby grant my permission to publish One Bread, One Body covering the period from October 1, 2014 through November 30, 2014.†Most Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Auxiliary Bishop, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, April 24, 2014.  The rescript is a declaration that a book or pamphlet is considered to be free of doctrinal or moral error. It is not implied that those who have granted ecclesial permission agree with the contents, opinions, or statements

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