Friday, March 30, 2012

Jesus enters Jerusalem, Jesus enters our hearts

As the Lenten season ends and as we enter the Holy Week, let us reflect on what we have done during this Lent. The Gospel of according to Mark gives us a beautiful text to reflect upon.

When they were approaching Jerusalem, at Bethphage and Bethany, near the Mount of Olives, he sent two of his disciples and said to them, “Go into the village ahead of you, and immediately as you enter it, you will find tied there a colt that has never been ridden; untie it and bring it. If anyone says to you, ‘Why are you doing this?’ just say this, ‘The Lord needs it and will send it back here immediately.’” They went away and found a colt tied near a door, outside in the street. As they were untying it, some of the bystanders said to them, “What are you doing, untying the colt?” They told them what Jesus had said; and they allowed them to take it. Then they brought the colt to Jesus and threw their cloaks on it; and he sat on it. Many people spread their cloaks on the road, and others spread leafy branches that they had cut in the fields. Then those who went ahead and those who followed were shouting,
Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord!
Blessed is the coming kingdom of our ancestor David!
Hosanna in the highest heaven!”

Then he entered Jerusalem and went into the temple; and when he had looked around at everything, as it was already late, he went out to Bethany with the twelve. - NRSV

As doctors and healthcare providers, we have consciously reminded our patients about healthy diet especially this Lenten season. But that's it. We have treated the Lenten fast as a way to diet instead of a spiritual discipline. We have obviously lost the meaning of the fast, worst, the meaning of Lent. Instead of preparing ourselves and disciplining ourselves during Lent, we have made it a reason to feed on our other desires. Example, since we wanted to fast on meat during Lent, we have made it an excuse to eat seafoods (despite being expensive) all the time. Obviously, seafoods taste much better and it feeds more our desire for (comfort) foods.

The Gospel text tells us of Jesus planning to enter Jerusalem. As Jesus plans to enter, his followers prepare for this event by looking for a colt that Jesus will ride on. The followers obeyed Jesus and prepared for his entry.

As Jesus plans to enter this Holy Week in the Jerusalem of our lives and our hearts, what preparations have we done? The Lenten season was the season to remind us to prepare ourselves, our lives and our hearts for the entry of Jesus. As we remember the great love of God that saved us from sin and death, how did we prepare ourselves? As Christians, we are supposed to be the followers of Jesus tasked to look for the colt for him to ride. Did we follow his plan? Did we go look for the colt for him to ride? Did we follow his plan? Did we obey Jesus? What concrete ways did we do this Lent to prepare for the entry of Jesus?

The way we treated this Lenten season is a testament to how we value and give worth to the grace and love of God highlighted this Holy Week.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Cleaning the Temple

What do we do when the Holy Ground becomes dirty and filthy? This is the Bible Study topic we discussed this week. The Gospel from John 2:13-22 tells us:

13 tThe Passover of the Jews was at hand, and Jesus uwent up to Jerusalem. 14 vIn the temple he found those who were selling oxen and sheep and pigeons, and the money-changers sitting there. 15 And making a whip of cords, he drove them all out of the temple, with the sheep and oxen. And he poured out the coins of the money-changers and overturned their tables. 16 And he told those who sold the pigeons, “Take these things away; do not make wmy Father's house a house of trade.” 17 His disciples remembered that it was written, x“Zeal for your house will consume me.”

18 So the Jews said to him, y“What sign do you show us for doing these things?” 19 Jesus answered them, z“Destroy this temple, and in three days aI will raise it up.” 20 The Jews then said, “It has taken forty-six years to build this temple,1 and will you raise it up in three days?” 21 But he was speaking about bthe temple of his body. 22 When therefore he was raised from the dead, chis disciples remembered that he had said this, and they believed dthe Scripture and the word that Jesus had spoken. (ESV)

Let us examine closer the text and think about these questions:

-Where did Jesus go?

-What did he find there?

-What was the reaction of Jesus?

-Why was Jesus upset?

-What was the temple Jesus was referring to?

-What were the people doing to the temple Jesus was referring to?

As we try to answer these questions, let us not forget that we are in the Lenten season. This is the season where we discipline ourselves to refrain from doing evil. Jesus Christ referred to his body as the Temple, what is the body of Christ today? If we say that it is the Church then let us this be our Lenten reflection:

What are we doing with the body of Christ today, the Church? Are we also desecrating it? Is Jesus happy with our works or is he going to whip us too?

This Lenten Season, as we prepare ourselves and move towards Christian perfection, what should we do to the body of Christ/ to the Church? How can we keep the temple clean? What actions should we initiate to keep the temple holy?