Friday, November 22, 2013

Jesus Maccabaeus

Given that next Thursday is the 25th day of the month Chislev, and therefore the first day of Hanukkah,   it is interesting that today's readings focus on the rededication of the Temple.

One is the origin of Hanukkah, the reconsecration of the Temple after it was desecrated by Antiochus Epiphanes and his henchmen around 150 BC. The Responsorial Psalm (which isn't even from the Book of Psalms!) hearkens  back to the time before the first Temple had even been built: it is David's prayer in anticipation of the consecration of the Temple that his son Solomon would build.  (It'sworth reading the whole chapter from 1 Chronicles.)

And then in the Gospel, Jesus claims his full right of sovereignty over the Temple and casts out yet another "abomination" that had taken root in its precincts. He drives out the vendors and reclaims the entire sacred space as "a house of prayer."

I couldn't help but see Pope Francis as fulfilling this same role, albeit in a less dramatic way. He was chosen by his brother Cardinals for a work of reform, and every day he is teaching the people who are "hanging on his words" to such an extent that his is the highest ranking name in Google Search.

And lately, Pope Francis has been rather explicit about the need for each of us to "reconsecrate" the Temples that we are. That's right: Pope Francis is in the midst of a campaign for confession. He made the wry observation that people who want to bypass the sacramental confession to a priest in favor of a direct confession to God might as well confess by e-mail. He's talked about what to confess, how to confess, why to confess, how often he goes to confession.

My "liturgy haiku" of the day takes up the theme:
Cast out the vendors
restore this place to glory
as a house of prayer.


Anonymous said...

We are so blessed to have Francis as Pope. God bless him.
In fact a great blessing to have had Benedict, JPII, Paul VI and John 23.
Whatever evils in the world, really blessed to have had such Popes / this Pope.
(and to avoid complacency, let's pray for Pope Francis and for the election of future Popes)
Praise God.
Ed - UK

Anonymous said...

I went to Confession last Saturday, having thought about and prayed over what and how I would confess. The longer I wait, the more difficult it becomes, so I had a plan. The next visiting priest would be "it", only please God, let it not be Father H. Sure enough, whose battered old car was in the parking lot? Seemed our pastor was away so Father H. to the rescue. A loud, theatrical, opinionated man, the last person I wanted to confess to. Turned out he was positively charming, understanding, asked a few questions for clarification, commiserated on some points, pronounced Absolution. I got a handshake, too, and a "thank you for coming". No, thank YOU Fr. H., for your vocation, and thank YOU, Jesus, for entrusting the keys of binding/loosing so that we may disentangle ourselves of our sins, annoying and cumulative faults. Go to Confession. Go often, be done with the burden of guilt and celebrate God's forgiveness. - Jean