Lectio Divina – 22
Fr. Martin Kallunkal
“And when he entered Jerusalem, the whole city was in turmoil as people asked, ‘Who is this?’ and the crowds answered, “This is the prophet Jesus from Nazareth in Galilee.” Jesus then went into the Temple and drove out all those who were selling and buying there; he upset the tables of the money-changers and the seats of the dove-sellers. He said to them, ‘According to scripture, my house will be called a house of prayer; but you are turning it into a bandits’ den.’ There were also blind and lame people who came to him in the Temple, and he cured them. At the sight of the wonderful things he did and of the children shouting, ‘Hosanna to the Son of David’ in the Temple, the chief priests and the scribes were indignant and said to him, ‘Do you hear what they are saying?’ Jesus answered, ‘Yes. Have you never read this: By the mouths of children, babes in arms, you have made sure of praise?’ (Mt 21:10-16)
Jesus’ solemn entry to Jerusalem was one of the many similar entries in the history of the city. But, Jesus’ entry was characteristically different. First, unlike in the case of the solemn reception given to the Kings and army-chiefs, no one in the city came forward to welcome Jesus. Jesus came on His own and entered with the crowd that was following Him for long (Mt 20:29). God takes the first step, always. Second, Jesus sat on colt on which no one had sat earlier. The animal was brought at Jesus’ command from the neighbouring village, which reminds us of the Roman practice of angaria – forcible seizure of something for public use. Christian vocation, especially vocation to priesthood and consecrated life, is a divine angeria; right? Third, people shouted, hosanna. The Hebrew hosanna, meaning ‘save us,’ was used as a cry of jubilation. The crowds’ words – ‘Hosanna to the Son of David; blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord; hosanna in the highest’ – echo Ps 118: 25-26 and 2 Sam 14:4, in recognition that Jesus was the Christ, the Son of David, ‘he who comes in the name of the Lord’ as God’s agent. Distressed as we are, we all must always pray hosanna to our Lord. Fourth, Jesus drove out all those who were engaged in the exchange of animals, birds, and money. With prophet Jeremiah (Jer 7:11), Jesus confirmed that the temple establishment had totally failed in living up to its holiness. Jesus is not simply cleansing the temple and correcting some practices therein; rather, He is abolishing all unkind rituals and the related profit-making trades. Fifth, the blind and the lame freely came close to Jesus whom He also cured. This is noteworthy because from the beginning the blind and lame were forbidden to enter in the temple (2Sam 5:8). Not only the Scripture but also the works that Jesus does testify that He is the Messiah. Sixth, the chief priests and scribes were annoyed, especially because of what the children shouted. What children sometimes playfully say in the sacred places used to be considered as prophetic by the Jews. Jesus confirmed the conventional thinking in this regard.
O’ Jesus, I want to welcome you into my church-community and into my personal life in particular. Come, Lord Jesus! Lord, do you find the fruits of your Spirit in our community? I am sorry, my merciful Master, that there is everything in our lives except what you are looking for.
For long, you have been struggling to set things right in your life as well as in your community. By the time, you might have compromised with a number of things about which you were initially upset. May be now you are not very unhappy with what happens to you and around you. Well, let the Lord come into your life.
Make a list of the projects and practices that are unbecoming of Christians. Make honest efforts to hate the things that the Lord hates.