REFLECTION FOR TODAY
November 19, 2021
By Fr. Andrew Ibegbulem, OSA
And every day he was teaching in the temple area. The chief priests, the scribes, and the leaders of the people, meanwhile, were seeking to put him to death, but they could find no way to accomplish their purpose because all the people were hanging on his words. Lk. 19:45-46.
Prior to our gospel reference above Jesus had entered the temple and was angry to see the events going on there rather than being a place of worship it has turned to a marketplace. In anger he drove out the money changer. Jesus responded with holy anger to the corruption going on in the temple.
Jesus later began to preach to cleanse the Temple from the corruption going on there. As He preached to the people, the chief priests, the scribes, and the leaders of the people sort to put him to death, but they could find no way to accomplish their purpose because all the people were hanging on his words. The words that Jesus spoke were words that sought to cleanse the Temple of corruption. With the approval of the temple priests, who benefitted from the temple tax, there were many people who were using the practice of divine worship to make a profit for selfish gain, turning the Temple into a marketplace.
Jesus could see this clearly, and many of the people would have also sensed the corruption of these practices. Though they needed to purchase animals for the ritual sacrifices and Passover meal, many of them were most likely disturbed by this abuse. Therefore, as Jesus spoke with fervor and condemnation, it angered those who were responsible for the corruption but left the people with consolation. Hence, they were “hanging on his words.”
The word of God is always consoling, for those who are open, it leads them to hang on every word that is spoken. It refreshes and invigorates, clarifies, and motivates. Usually when we think of the word of God, we think of words that are gentle and inviting words of mercy to the sinner and compassion for those who are struggling. At the same time, the word of God does fiercely attack sin and evil. And though this may be shocking to the evil doers, to those with pure faith, these words also refresh and strengthen.
As Christian we need the word of God, we need to hear the gentle invitation of Jesus to conversion by which our heavy burdens are lifted. We also need to hear His firm words of condemnation. As a Church we need both messages to be proclaimed if we are to fully participate in the apostolic ministry of our Lord. Only Jesus has the right to condemn, chastise, and call us to repentance. But we are all called to share in this mission of Jesus.
Though we do not have the right to judge the hearts of others, when we see objective evil and disorder within our world and even within our Church, we must speak out, and when we do hear the holy and inspired words of God’s messengers who boldly and courageously proclaim the truth and call others to repentance, it should inspire, invigorate, and console us as we find ourselves hanging on their every word.
Reflect, today, upon the Gospel messages that need to be preached in our day and age that are both inspired by God and are also fervently directed at corruption within the world and even within our Church. Allow yourself to support such holy preaching and to be inspired by it. Hang on these holy words of God’s prophets today. As you do, God will protect them and inspire them to continue His holy mission of purification.
Lord, the corruption within our world, and at times even within our Church, requires Your holy preaching and purifying action. Please send Your messengers to those in need so that all may be cleansed as You cleansed the Temple. May I share in this mission in the ways in which You call me, and may I always hang on every word spoken from Your merciful and fervent heart of love. Jesus, I trust in You.