His Most Holy Work

In Jesus’ day when standing on the Mount of Olives there was one thing that dominated the skyline of Jerusalem – the Temple – hovering over the Old City, and visible from every balcony in the upper city. It was the great building project of King Herod the Great who enhanced the existing Temple to be a “wonder of the world.” The temple occupied a platform twice as large as the Roman Forum and four times as large as the Athenian Acropolis.  Herod reportedly used so much gold to cover the outside walls that anyone who gazed at them in bright sunlight risked blinding herself. It is no surprise that “… some people were speaking about how the temple was adorned with costly stones and votive offerings (Luke 21:5).  And so, there are the disciples taking in the view – the Temple and all its glory. It was a structure that held religious memory, anchored an identity as a people chosen by God. It was a sign of their Covenant with God. The Temple was the sign of the one, true God, home of scriptures and the commandments. The Temple and all it promised was their desire and fulfillment of their dreams.

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The Fall of Jerusalem

This coming Sunday is the 33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time, Lectionary Cycle C. Throughout this week of posts we have considered St. Luke’s extended commentary on Jesus’ warning of the coming destruction of Jerusalem and its Temple. While our gospel reading ends at Luke 21:19, most commentaries include an additional five verses as part of the commentary. Continue reading

The Divine Plan for Discipleship

This coming Sunday is the 33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time, Lectionary Cycle C. In yesterday’s post we discussed what is essentially a “theology of history.” Today we focus on the preparation of the disciples for what is coming: the Kingdom of God even as the kingdom of men falls. But before all these things will come persecution. Disciples will need to stand prepared for its coming. “Before all this happens, however, they will seize and persecute you, they will hand you over to the synagogues and to prisons, and they will have you led before kings and governors because of my name.” (v.12) Continue reading

Portents, Signs and These Things

This coming Sunday is the 33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time, Lectionary Cycle C. In yesterday’s post we explored the significance of the Temple in the mind and perspective of the Jewish people. Today we begin exploring the passage itself: While some people were speaking about how the temple was adorned with costly stones and votive offerings, he said, “All that you see here—the days will come when there will not be left a stone upon another stone that will not be thrown down.” 7 Then they asked him, “Teacher, when will this happen? (Luke 21:5-6) Continue reading

The Temple

This coming Sunday is the 33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time, Lectionary Cycle C. In yesterday’s post we set the stage for understanding the nature of the Lucan narrative that is our gospel reading. Today’s post explores the significance of the Jerusalem Temple, its history, and the potential impact of Jesus’ words: “All that you see here—the days will come when there will not be left a stone upon another stone that will not be thrown down.Continue reading

Content: deep dive

This post is a more detailed discussion regarding the nature of Luke’s third prediction of Jerusalem’s fall, a far more detailed speech (the others come in 13:34-35; 19:41-44). It is a bit of a deep dive beyond this morning’s post which included summary information. So, feel free to dive in …. or wait until we pick up the thread tomorrow morning. Continue reading

Priestly Care for Creation

For creation awaits with eager expectation the revelation of the children of God; for creation was made subject to futility, not of its own accord but because of the one who subjected it, in hope that creation itself would be set free from slavery to corruption and share in the glorious freedom of the children of God.” (Roman 8:19-21)

Did you know that the world was fashioned as a Temple and the Garden of Eden was depicted as the sanctuary of the Temple – the holy place where God dwells with his people? Well, you can’t have a temple without a priest to keep it and to offer sacrifices. And that’s the task that God gives to Adam. It’s a “priestly” task. But you need to know a little Hebrew to understand it. Continue reading

Witnessing the Temple

Today is the Memorial of Saint Andrew Dung-Lac, Priest, and Companions, Martyrs.

In Jesus’ day there was one thing that dominated the skyline of Jerusalem – the Temple – easily seen from across the way on the Mount of Olives, hovering over the Old City, and visible from every balcony in the upper city. It wasn’t the original Temple, but the second temple completed by King Herod the Great who make it a “wonder of the world.” While some people were speaking about how the temple was adorned with costly stones and votive offerings (Luke 21:5).

And so, there are the disciples taking in the view – the Temple and all its glory. They looked at the Temple and saw one thing. Jesus looked at the Temple and saw another.

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Temple

In the book of Genesis, the garden of Eden is portrayed as a high place where heaven and earth are one, and human relationships reflect this unity. But Eden is lost when humans rebel against God, so the unity between heaven, earth, and all humanity is fractured. God’s work throughout the rest of the Bible is all about recovering this lost unity. Israel’s tabernacle and temple served as symbolic Edens as they allowed for human and divine space to overlap. Because of Jesus, this place is no longer limited to one location, and the unity of Eden can be experienced wherever God’s people gather together in his love. Continue reading