Deacon Stu Dobson’s Reflection
33rd Friday in Ordinary Time, November 19, 2021
Mc 4:36-37, 52-59, 1 Chr 29:10-12, Lk 19:45-48
It is time to celebrate! The temple has been purified and rededicated, so we should celebrate and praise God for all the good things He has done! And can you imagine doing this for eight days straight? This is what our Jewish friends do when they celebrate Hanukkah, the Feast of Lights. This is a huge celebration for them when they rededicate the temple. I wonder what our church would be like if we did that? After all, we are getting our windows cleaned and redone, and seven years ago we expanded the church building so we could all worship and praise God together. So why not celebrate for eight days straight? I am up for it, are you? Jesus sure was when He entered the temple grounds. But what did He find? All sorts of abominations. A den of thieves, He says. It is time to clean house and get things back in order and re-create the house of prayer. And so, He did.
In either case, in a time to celebrate, or in a time of prayer, Jesus had many followers. Many held onto every word He said. Those against Him were stymied because they could not do anything about it, but as we know, it was not time for Him to be taken away. It was time for Him to show the world who He was and to teach everyone around about the truth, the truth of salvation. So, He spent every day He was there, teaching in the temple area.
As we walk into our own church, what do we find? Do we find a den of thieves, or do we find peace, solace, prayer, and celebration? I don’t think we find the den of thieves Jesus was talking about, but I do think there are times it is hard to find peace and solitude. No, I do not think others are being rude and not keeping a prayerful attitude, I think it has to do with the den of thieves outside of the church. We often walk into church with so many distractions and burdens, it is hard to see the prayerful space it is. “I need a job, my child is sick, my parent is dying, I am sick, I am losing my home, my car is broken down, I cannot afford even groceries…” the list could go on. But the good thing is, we are here. We have walked into this house that has been re-built, and re-dedicated, not by man, but by God.
If we can take the time to walk in the doors, let us at least take the time to get on our knees, and thank God for all the blessings He has given us, for providing this house of prayer for us so we can get away from our burdens, if only for a short time. They say even a 15-minute mediation is good for your soul, it allows you to re-generate, to clear your head and feel blessed again. What better place to do that than in God’s house, THE house of prayer? Let us re-dedicate ourselves and purify our own hearts by participating in the greatest celebration there is, the Mass. Receive Jesus in the Eucharist and then we can celebrate again, not just for eight days, but for all eternity.