Saturday, January 7, 2012

THE COMMON OF THE ANNIVERSARY OF THE DEDICATION OF A CHURCH



“Interior of the Basilica of San Paolo in Rome”
by Pietro Francesco Garola, 1690’s
701 READING I FROM THE OLD TESTAMENT


Readings and Commentary:[1][2]


In those days:
Solomon stood before the altar of the LORD
in the presence of the whole community of Israel,
and stretching forth his hands toward heaven, he said,
"LORD, God of Israel, there is no God like you
in heaven above or on earth below;
you keep your covenant of mercy with your servants
who are faithful to you with their whole heart.
"Can it indeed be that God dwells on earth?
If the heavens and the highest heavens cannot contain you,
how much less this temple which I have built!
Look kindly on the prayer and petition of yonr servant,
O LORD, my God,
and listen to the cry of supplication I, your servant,
utter before you this day.
May your eyes watch night and day over this temple,
the place where you have decreed you shall be honored;
may you heed the prayer which I, your servant, offer in this place.
Listen to the petitions of your servant
and of your people Israel
which they offer in this place.
Listen from your heavenly dwelling and grant pardon."
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Commentary on 1 Kgs 8:22-23, 27-30

King Solomon concludes the dedication of the Temple with theological wisdom telling the priests and people who believed that God had come to reside (completely and solely present) in the Temple that this was not so – that God was omnipresent (“’Can it indeed be that God dwells on earth? If the heavens and the highest heavens cannot contain you, how much less this temple which I have built!’”) He continues his prayer of intercession asking that God hear the prayers of the people offered there and grant them mercy as they atone for their sins.

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King Solomon and the entire community of Israel
gathered about him before the ark
were sacrificing sheep and oxen so numerous
that they could not be counted or numbered.
The priests brought the ark of the covenant of the LORD
to its place beneath the wings of the chernbim in the sanctuary,
the holy of holies of the temple.
The cherubim had their wings spread out over the place of the ark,
sheltering the ark and its poles from above.
The poles were long enough so that their ends could be seen
from that part of the holy place nearest the sanctuary;
however, they could not be seen beyond.
The ark has remained there to this day.
There was nothing in it but the two tablets
which Moses put there on Horeb,
the tablets of the covenant which the LORD made
with the children of Israel at their departure from Egypt.
When the trumpeters and singers were heard as a single voice
praising and giving thanks to the LORD,
and when they raised the sound
of the trumpets, cymbals and other musical instruments
to "give thanks to the LORD, for he is good,
for his mercy endures forever,"
the building of the LORD'S temple was filled with a cloud.
The priests could not continue to minister because of the cloud,
since the LORD'S glory filled the house of God.
Then Solomon said:
"The LORD intends to dwell in the dark cloud.
I have truly built you a princely house and dwelling,
where you may abide forever."
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Commentary on  2 Chr 5:6-10, 13-6:2

Solomon has completed the construction of his Temple.  This passage describes the transfer of the Ark of the Covenant to the Temple and a description of its setting within the temple.  The contents of the Ark are described as only the tablets of the Decalogue brought by Moses from Mt. Horeb indicating the that these tenants of the Law of Moses were the lynch-pin or the heart of the Law and the principle articles of the Covenant of Moses.

The building itself, upon its completion with the installation of the Ark of the Covenant, was truly a house of God so indicated by the description of the smoke that filled it.  This would indicate the physical presence of God; a place where his presence was most keenly felt.

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Thus says the LORD:
Observe what is right, do what is just;
for my salvation is about to come,
my justice, about to be revealed.
The foreigners who join themselves to the LORD,
ministering to him,
Loving the name of the LORD,
and becoming his servants-
All who keep the sabbath free from profanation
and hold to my covenant,
Them I will bring to my holy mountain
and make joyful in my house of prayer;
Their burnt offerings and sacrifices
will be acceptable on my altar,
For my house shall be called
a house of prayer for all peoples.
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Commentary on Is 56:1, 6-7

This passage is part of what scholars call the “Post Exilic Torah” or the law after the return. In this selection we see that foreigners (those living outside Palestine) are offered member ship in the faith community. The other important element is the temple is given the name “a house of prayer”. This passage was quoted by Jesus as he drove the money changers from the temple (see Mark 11:17 and Matthew 21:13).

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The angel led me to the gate which faces the east,
and there I saw the glory of the God of Israel
coming from the east.
I heard a sound like the roaring of many waters,
and the earth shone with his glory.
I fell prone as the glory of the LORD entered the temple
by way of the gate which faces the east,
but spirit lifted me up and brought me to the inner court.
And I saw that the temple was filled with the glory of the LORD.
Then I heard someone speaking to me from the temple,
while the man stood beside me.
The voice said to me:
Son of man, this is where my throne shall be,
this is where I will set the soles of my feet;
here I will dwell among the children of Israel forever.
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Commentary on Ez 43:1-2, 4-7a

This is the climax of Ezekiel’s vision. He sees the restoration of the temple and the return of God. He speaks from a period of exile in Babylon and envisions a time when the temple will be rebuilt and God’s presence with his people will be eternal. That which was destroyed will be rebuilt, God’s salvation will be offered to those who were defeated and are without hope.

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(see Roman Missal, antiphon for the
blessing and sprinkling of water during the season of Easter).

The angel brought me back to the entrance of the temple,
and I saw water flowing out
from beneath the threshold of the temple toward the east,
for the facade of the temple was toward the east;
the water flowed down from the right side of the temple,
south of the altar.
He led me outside by the north gate,
and around to the outer gate facing the east,
where I saw water trickling from the right side.
He said to me,
"This water flows into the eastern district down upon the Arabah,
and empties into the sea, the salt waters, which it makes fresh.
Wherever the river flows,
every sort of living creature that can multiply shall live,
and there shall be abundant fish,
for wherever this water comes the sea shall be made fresh.
Along both banks of the river, fruit trees of every kind shall grow;
their leaves shall not fade, nor their fruit fail.
Every month they shall bear fresh fruit,
for they shall be watered by the flow from the sanctuary.
Their fruit shall serve for food, and their leaves for medicine."
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Commentary on Ez 47:1-2, 8-9, 12

The scriptural offerings begin with a first reading taken from a (somewhat truncated) excerpt from Ezekiel’s vision of the renewed Temple in Jerusalem (47:1-2, 8-9, 12). Because the presence of the Lord has returned to the Temple (following the return of Israel itself from exile), the waters flowing from the Temple have become life-giving in the spectacular way described – even the Dead Sea is seen as being made to teem with fish when the waters enter it. The vision has entered Christian imagination as a powerful symbol of the life (grace) that flows to human beings through God’s presence in the Temple of the Church.

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702 READING I FROM THE NEW TESTAMENT
DURING THE SEASON OF EASTER

First Option


Stephen said to the people, the elders and the scribes:
"Our ancestors had the tent of testimony in the desert
just as the One who spoke to Moses directed him
to make it according to the pattern he had seen.
Our ancestors who inherited it
brought it with Joshua when they dispossessed the nations
that God drove out from before our ancestors,
up to the time of David,
who found favor in the sight of God
and asked that he might find a dwelling place
for the house of Jacob.
But Solomon built a house for him.
Yet the Most High does not dwell in houses made by human hands.
As the prophet says:
The heavens are my throne,
the earth is my Footstool.
What kind of house can you build for me?
says the Lord,
or what is to be my resting place?
Did not my hand make all these things?"
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Commentary on Acts 7:44-50

This part of St. Stephen’s Discourse deals with the historical belief by the Jewish peoples in God’s presence in a special place.  In Exodus 25: 8-9 the “Tent of Testimony” is constructed at Joshua’s instructions according to a heavenly pattern as a place where God may hear from the people of God.  This nomadic aid was later replaced by Solomon who built the first permanent site (see 2 Chronicles 5ff). The Deacon refutes the idea that God must only be present to the people in one place but points a spiritual omnipresence where the faithful my enjoy his favor.

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Second Option


I, John, saw a new heaven and a new earth.
The former heaven and the former earth had passed away,
and the sea was no more.
I also saw the holy city, a new Jerusalem,
coming down out of heaven from God,
prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.
I heard a loud voice from the throne saying,
"Behold, God's dwelling is with the human race.
He will dwell with them and they will be his people
and God himself will always be with them as their God.
He will wipe every tear from their eyes,
and there shall be no more death or mourning, wailing or pain,
for the old order has passed away."
The One who sat on the throne said,
"Behold, I make all things new."
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Commentary on Rev 21:1-5a

In this selection from St. John’s Revelation, John has a vision of the “New Heaven” and the New Earth”, after Christ begins his reign at God’s right hand. The New Jerusalem, the image of God’s Church viewed as the bride with Christ the bridegroom. In this New Jerusalem, the Church, God dwells and there he will show his tender mercy (“He will wipe every tear from their eyes”). The old order is washed away; “Behold, I make all things new.” (see also Isaiah 43:18ff, 2 Corinthians 5:17, and Galatians 6:15)

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Third Option


The angel spoke to me, saying:
"Come here. I will show you the bride, the wife of the Lamb."
He took me in spirit to a great, high mountain
and showed me the holy city Jerusalem
coming down out of heaven from God.
It gleamed with the splendor of God.
Its radiance was like that of a precious stone,
like jasper, clear as crystal.
It had a massive, high wall,
with twelve gates where twelve angels were stationed
and on which names were inscribed,
the names of the twelve tribes of the children of Israel.
There were three gates facing east,
three north, three south, and three west.
The wall of the city had twelve courses of stones as its foundation,
on which were inscribed the twelve names
of the twelve Apostles of the Lamb.
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Commentary on Rv 21:9b-14

God shows St. John the New Jerusalem, Christ’s heavenly kingdom. The Evangelist has borrowed much of his description from Ezekiel (Chapters 40-48). He is taken to a high mountain (Ezekiel 40 2-3) and sees the heavenly vision as God’s presence transforms his kingdom into a radiant fortress. St. John’s description supports images of evangelization (see 2 Corinthians 4:6). The repeating number 12 (twelve angels, twelve tribes, twelve names) alludes to the perfect continuity between God’s relationship with the Old Testament peoples (Ezekiel 48:30-35 and Exodus 28:17-21) and the Church (Matthew 19:28 and Luke 22:29-30). He concludes his vision providing an analogy; the preaching of the Apostles (and Prophets) is to the Church as a foundation is to an edifice (see Ephesians 2:20).

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703 RESPONSORIAL PSALM


R. (13b) We praise your glorious name, O mighty God.

"Blessed may you be, O LORD,
God of Israel our father,
from eternity to eternity." 
R. We praise your glorious name, O mighty God.

"Yours, O LORD, are grandeur and power,
majesty, splendor, and glory.
For all in heaven and on earth is yours."
R. We praise your glorious name, O mighty God.

"Yours, O LORD, is the sovereignty;
you are exalted as head over all.
Riches and honor are from you."
R. We praise your glorious name, O mighty God.

"You have dominion over all.
In your hands are power and might;
it is yours to give grandeur and strength to all."
R. We praise your glorious name, O mighty God.
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This great hymn of praise from First Chronicles directs our thoughts toward the power and majesty of God the Father. It rejoices in His omnipotent reign over all the earth.

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R. (5) There is a stream whose runlets gladden the city of God, the holy
dwelling of the Most High!

God is our refuge and our strength,
an ever-present help in distress.
Therefore we fear not, though the earth be shaken
and mountains plunge into the depths of the sea.
R. There is a stream whose runlets gladden the city of God, the holy
dwelling of the Most High!

There is a stream whose rnnlets gladden the city of God,
the holy dwelling of the Most High.
God is in its midst; it shall not be disturbed;
God will help it at the break of dawn.
R. There is a stream whose runlets gladden the city of God, the holy
dwelling of the Most High!

The LORD of hosts is with us;
our stronghold is the God of Jacob.
Come! behold the deeds of the LORD,
the astounding things he has wrought on earth.
R. There is a stream whose rnnlets gladden the city of God, the holy
dwelling of the Most High!
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Commentary on Ps 46:2-3, 5-6, 8-9

Psalm 46 is a hymn of praise. In this passage we see the analogy presented in the reading from Ezekiel referenced (Ezekiel 47:1-2, 8-9, 12) as the Lord is praised for supporting the people with his strength and creation.

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R. How lovely is your dwelling-place, Lord, mighty God!
or:
R. Here God lives among his people.

My soul yearns and pines
for the courts of the LORD.
My heart and my flesh
cry ont for the living God.
R. How lovely is your dwelling-place. Lord, mighty God!
or:
R. Here God lives among his people.

Even the sparrow finds a home,
and the swallow a nest
in which she puts her young-
Your altars, O LORD of hosts,
my king and my God!
R. How lovely is your dwelling-place. Lord, mighty God!
or:
R. Here God lives among his people.

Blessed they who dwell in your house!
continually they praise you.
O God, behold our shield,
and look upon the face of your anointed. "
R. How lovely is your dwelling-place, Lord, mighty God!
or:
R. Here God lives among his people.

I had rather one day in your courts
than a thousand elsewhere;
I had rather lie at the threshold of the house of my God
than dwell in the tents of the wicked.
R. How lovely is your dwelling-place, Lord, mighty God!
or:
R. Here God lives among his people.
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Commentary on Ps 84:3, 4, 5 and 10, 11

Psalm 84 is a hymn in praise of the temple, a song of Zion.  The psalmist sings of the joy felt by the faithful who can spend time with Lord in his house.  It is a joy unsurpassed by time spent elsewhere.  

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R. (2) Let us come before the Lord and praise him.

Come, let us sing joyfully to the LORD;
let us acclaim the Rock of our salvation.
Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving;
let us joyfully sing psalms to him.
R. Let us come before the Lord and praise him.

For the LORD is a great God,
and a great king above all gods;
In his hands are the depths of the earth,
and the tops of the mountains are his.
His is the sea, for he has made it,
and the dry land, which his hands have formed.
R. Let us come before the Lord and praise him.

Come, let us bow down in worship;
let us kneel before the LORD who made us.
For he is our God,
and we are the people he shepherds, the flock he guides.
R. Let us come before the Lord and praise him.
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Commentary on Ps 95:1-2, 3-5, 6-7

Psalm 95 is a song of praise.  These strophes rejoice in God’s saving help and extol his greatness as the creator of all things.  The psalmist enjoins the faithful to bow down a worship the one who is the great shepherd who protects his flock from all ills.

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R. (1) Let us go rejoicing to the house of the Lord!

I rejoiced because they said to me,
"We will go up to the house of the LORD."
And now we have set foot
within your gates, O Jerusalem.
R. Let us go rejoicing to the house of the Lord!

Jerusalem, built as a city
with compact unity.
To it the tribes go up,
the tribes of the LORD.
R. Let us go rejoicing to the house of the Lord!

Because of my relatives and friends
I will say, "Peace be within you!"
Because of the house of the LORD, our God,
I will pray for your good.
R. Let us go rejoicing to the house of the Lord!
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Commentary on Ps 122:1-2, 3-4ab, 8-9

Psalm 122 is a song of thanksgiving centered upon returning to the Temple in Jerusalem (Mosaic Law required such a trip three times). The song rejoices in the visit to the holy place, the seat of King David. The original singers would have been rejoicing at returning to the one temple. For Christians, the new Jerusalem is the one and only house of God in his heavenly kingdom, there the Lord sits in judgment.

The final wishes (v. 8-9) are actually a play on words.  The peace being wished is peace to the holy city and because the temple is located within her walls the singer will pray for good things to happen for the city.

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704 READING II FROM THE NEW TESTAMENT

First Option


Brothers and sisters:
You are God's building,
According to the grace of God given to me,
like a wise master builder I laid a foundation,
and another is building upon it.
But each one must be careful how he builds upon it,
for no one can lay a foundation other than the one that is there,
namely, Jesus Christ.
Do you not know that you are the temple of God,
and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?
If anyone destroys God's temple,
God will destroy that person;
for the temple of God, which you are, is holy.
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Commentary on 1 Cor 3:9c-11, 16-17

In this selection, St Paul moves from speaking of the Christian community at Corinth in terms of a ‘plantation’ to that of a ‘building’, and finally a ‘holy building’ or temple, in which God’s Spirit dwells. Christian ministers, such as himself and his co-workers, are the builders who are bringing this holy building to completion. The essential foundation that Paul has laid is Christ. As is necessary for the success of any building operation, all subsequent builders must ensure that their work is rightly aligned upon the foundation. The image of the community as a holy building or temple was something early Christianity derived from Judaism. It communicates the sense that even when absent from a physical place of worship the gathered community is already itself a holy building (temple) in which the Lord is present. The physical building is the outward, local, visible expression of the Christian conviction that it is God’s delight to dwell among human beings – a presence made vastly more accessible through the Incarnation of the Son, extended to all times and places through the sacramental life of the Church.

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Second Option


Brothers and sisters:
You are no longer strangers and sojourners,
but you are fellow citizens with the holy ones
and members of the household of God,
built upon the foundation of the Apostles and prophets,
with Christ Jesus himself as the capstone.
Through him the whole structure is held together
and grows into a temple sacred in the Lord;
in him you also are being built together
into a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.
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Commentary on Eph 2:19-22

In this passage, St. Paul describes the unity brought about among all believers in Christ. This unity is formed under a common teaching flowing from the Hebrew Prophets, through the Apostles to Christ himself who is described as the “capstone” or cornerstone. This unity of spirit becomes the Church – the “dwelling place for God in the Spirit.” The Church, in turn, is unity of all Christians, those who were formerly Jews and those who were formerly Gentiles. They are, says the apostle, joined through Christ on the same road to the Kingdom of God. They share the same foundation of faith, transmitted to them through the Apostles and held firm by Christ the “capstone”. Together they form the “Temple of the Spirit”; the essential understanding that together the Church is the mystical Body of Christ.

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Third Option


Brothers and sisters:
You have not approached that which could be touched
and a blazing fire and gloomy darkness
and storm and a trumpet blast
and a voice speaking words such that those who heard
begged that no message be further addressed to them.
No, you have approached Mount Zion
and the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem,
and countless angels in festal gathering,
and the assembly of the firstborn enrolled in heaven,
and God the judge of all,
and the spirits of the just made perfect,
and Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant,
and the sprinkled Blood that speaks more eloquently
than that of Abel.
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Commentary on Heb 12:18-19, 21-24

The author speaking to the Hebrews launches a final appeal to compare the covenant of Moses with the New Covenant in Christ. The Mosaic Covenant, argues the author, is based in fear of God while the New Covenant grants direct access to God the heavenly father. In the second section a comparison is drawn between the Jews waiting at Mount Sinai for Moses and the faithful Christians at the end times gathering at the Heavenly Throne, the New Jerusalem, with all the angels and saints.
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Fourth Option


Beloved:
Come to the Lord, a living stone, rejected by human beings
but chosen and precious in the sight of God,
and, like living stones,
let yourselves be built into a spiritual house
to be a holy priesthood to offer spiritual sacrifices
acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.
For it says in Scripture:
Behold, I am laying a stone in Zion,
a cornerstone, chosen and precious,
and whoever believes in it shall not be put to shame.
Therefore, its value is for you who have faith,
but for those without faith:
The stone which the builders rejected
has become the cornerstone,
and
A stone which will make people stumble,
and a rock that will make them fall.
They stumble by disobeying the word, as is their destiny.
You are "a chosen race, a royal priesthood,
a holy nation, a people of his own,
so that you may announce the praises" of him
who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.
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Commentary on 1 Pt 2:4-9

St. Peter begins this selection exhorting the Christian reader to build the spiritual house of God, being part of that house and strengthening it through prayer and sacrifice (the reference here seems to point to the Eucharistic sacrifice common in the homes of the persecuted Church).

The passage continues with the “building” analogy, the use of the foundation and cornerstone simile. ”Christ is the cornerstone (cf Isaiah 28:16) that is the foundation of the spiritual edifice of the Christian community (1 Peter 2:5). To unbelievers, Christ is an obstacle and a stumbling block on which they are destined to fall (1 Peter 2:8); cf Romans 11:11.”[3]

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706 GOSPEL

First Option


When Jesus went into the region of Caesaroa Philippi
he asked his disciples,
"Who do people say that the Son of Man is?"
They replied, "Some say John the Baptist, others Elijah,
still others Jeremiah or one of tlie prophets."
He said to them, "But who do you say that I am?"
Simon Peter said in reply,
"You are the Christ, the Son of the living God."
Jesus said to him in reply, "Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah
For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my heavenly Father.
And so I say to you, you are Peter,
and upon this rock I will build my Church,
and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it.
I will give you the keys to the Kingdom of heaven.
Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven;
and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven."
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Commentary on Mt 16:13-19

St. Matthew’s story of how Jesus asked about what people were saying about him has a profound impact on the Church. Here, when challenged by Jesus with the question, “But who do you say that I am?” Simon answers, “You are the Christ, the son of the living God.” The second title is not present in St. Mark’s version of this encounter. It adds an understanding that Jesus is not just the Messiah, but also the Son of God.Given this response, Jesus confers upon Simon a new name “Kephas” which comes from the root Aramaic word Kepa or “Rock”. When translated into Greek it came out Petros and from there to Peter. The name, however, becomes the foundation for the Church and Peter, as a consequence of this exchange is given Christ’s authority, an authority that is passed down through Papal Succession to Pope Benedict XVI today.

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Second Option


At that time, Jesus came to Jericho and intended to pass through the town.
Now a man there named Zacchaeus,
who was a chief tax collector and also a wealthy man,
was seeking to see who Jesus was;
but he could not see him because of the crowd,
for he was short in stature.
So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore tree in order to see Jesus,
who was about to pass that way.
When he reached the place, Jesus looked up and said,
"Zacchaeus, come down quickly,
for today I must stay at your house."
And he came down quickly and received him with joy.
When they saw this, they began to grumble, saying,
"He has gone to stay at the house of a sinner."
But Zacchaeus stood there and said to the Lord,
"Behold, half of my possessions, Lord, I shall give to the poor,
and if I have extorted anything from anyone
I shall repay it four times over."
And Jesus said to him,
"Today salvation has come to this house
because this man too is a descendant of Abraham.
For the Son of Man has come to seek
and to save what was lost."
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Commentary on Lk 19:1-10

Today we hear the story of Zacchaeus, the tax collector and Jesus. While still on his final journey to Jerusalem this encounter takes place in Jericho, on the western edge of Jordan Valley, about 6 miles north of the Dead Sea, north east of Jerusalem. Jesus chooses Zacchaeus’ home for his resting place (an unpopular choice; …they began to grumble, saying, ‘He has gone to stay at the house of a sinner.”)

Jesus uses this occasion to give us a clear idea of why he came. When Zacchaeus tells him what he as done with his material possessions, Jesus proclaims; …the Son of Man has come to seek and to save what was lost.” His mission is salvation.

The story of Zacchaeus is another of the stories unique to the Gospel of St. Luke. The Tax Collector exemplifies the attitude the faithful should take. He detaches himself easily from his wealth. Zacchaeus offers go beyond what Mosaic Law calls for (assuming some of his dealings were dishonest - Exodus 21:37; Numbers 5:5-7) to give half of his possessions to the poor and to make amends four times over for any accounts he has wrongly settled. This action, the Lord tells those present, has earned him salvation.

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Third Option


Since the Passover of the Jews was near,
Jesus went up to Jerusalem.
He found in the temple area those who sold oxen, sheep, and doves,
as well as the money-changers seated there.
He made a whip out of cords
and drove them all out of the temple area, with the sheep and oxen,
and spilled the coins of the money-changers
and overturned their tables,
and to those who sold doves he said,
"Take these out of here,
and stop making my Father's house a marketplace."
His disciples recalled the words of Scripture,
Zeal for your house will consume me.
At this the Jews answered and said to him,
"What sign can you show us for doing this?"
Jesus answered and said to them,
"Destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it up."
The Jews said,
"This temple has been under construction for forty-six years,
and you will raise it up in three days?"
But he was speaking about the temple of his Body.
Therefore, when he was raised from the dead,
his disciples remembered that he had said this,
and they came to believe the Scripture
and the word Jesus had spoken.
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Commentary on Jn 2:13-22

The Gospel, John 2:13-22, adds a christological crown to this rich scriptural offering. In John’s account, Jesus’ ‘cleansing’ of the Temple in Jerusalem is very radical. By driving out the animals and money changers he is really overthrowing the whole system of Temple worship based upon animal sacrifices that had existed hitherto. ‘Zeal for (his) Father’s house consumes’ him in that his whole life and teaching is one great campaign to disclose and make effective the presence of God on a vastly wider scale than in the confines of the material Temple. His ‘zeal’ or passion for this mission will ‘consume’ him in the sense of bringing him to his death. However, as his disciples subsequently realize, his own body will become the new place of God’s presence, the ‘Temple’ which, through rising from the dead, he will build ‘in three days’. Believers need not mourn the loss of the Temple in Jerusalem (destroyed by the Romans in 70 CE). They live within the new ‘Temple’ constituted by the body of their risen Lord.[4]

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Fourth Option


The Samaritan woman said to Jesus,
"Sir, I can see that you are a prophet.
Our ancestors worshiped on this mountain;
but you people say that the place to worship is in Jerusalem."
Jesus said to her,
"Believe me, woman, the hour is coming
when you will worship the Father
neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem.
You people worship what you do not understand;
we worship what we understand,
because salvation is from the Jews.
But the hour is coming, and is now here,
when true worshipers will worship the Father in Spirit and truth;
and indeed the Father seeks such people to worship him.
God is Spirit, and those who worship him
must worship in Spirit and truth."
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Commentary on Jn 4:19-24

This short selection from the Lord’s discourse with the Samaritan Woman focuses on the Lord’s revelation that true worship of his Heavenly Father had not been genuine by either the pagans who worshiped Baal (such as the Samaritans) or by the Jews (although the Lord makes clear that God’s true revelation was to the Jewish people first “…salvation is from the Jews”.

Jesus makes it clear that the worship of God in “Spirit and truth” may take place in any location (not just Jerusalem and not on the mountain of the Samaritans).  The Father, Jesus says, “…seeks such people to worship him.”  It is an implicit invitation to all peoples to find the true God and his Only Begotten Son.

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[1] The readings are taken from the New American Bible with the exception of the Psalm and its response which were developed by the International Committee for English in Liturgy (ICEL). This re-publication is not authorized by USCCB and is for private use only.
[2] The picture is “Interior of the Basilica of San Paolo in Rome” by Pietro Francesco Garola, 1690’s
[3] See NAB Footnote on 1 Peter 2:4-8
[4] Commentary written by Fr. Brenden Byrne, S.J.