Saturday of the Eighth Week in Ordinary Time

Jude 17,20b-25; Ps 63:2-6; Mk 11:27-33
“I gazed toward you in the sanctuary.”

The sanctuary in the Jerusalem Temple was a place where glory was manifested and hidden. The eyes of every faithful believer gazed toward the LORD who has made his dwelling among the people. We who believe in the Eucharist, in the Bread from Heaven, that is stored in our tabernacles in every Catholic Church throughout the world, have a precious understanding of our ancestors in faith that loved the Temple in Jerusalem. Indeed, those who seek God in every age have souls that are thirsting and flesh that pines like the earth, parched, lifeless and without water. Saint Augustine reminds us of this hunger and thirst that is alone satisfied by the Eucharist. He muses, because we have tasted and seen that the Lord Is Good, we hunger for more and thirst even more deeply. Our ancestors gazed toward him in the sanctuary to see his power and glory. We gaze toward him in the tabernacle to see his power and glory. For his kindness is a greater good than life; our lips shall glorify him. Our eyes are filled with grateful tears as we contemplate his kindness that lasts longer than life. His mercy and his love are everlasting, and we are given immortality so that we can enjoy these gifts fully and completely. While we live in this world, we bless the LORD by lifting up our hands and calling upon his name. Indeed, with the riches of the Lamb’s Wedding Banquet our souls are satisfied, and with exultant lips our mouths shall praise him. As Saint Jude assures us, the Lord Jesus is able to keep us from stumbling and present us unblemished and exultant to the Father in the Holy Spirit. As Saint Mark reminds us, the One Who Cleansed the Old Temple purifies us and makes of us a new and eternal Temple, the Body of Christ, even as we share in this Holy Eucharist.

What does the Apostle Jude command us? What does it mean to pray in the Holy Spirit? Actually, we cannot pray any other way. We know not how to pray as Saint Paul writes in the letter to the Romans, and the Spirit prays in us. The Holy Spirit prays from the depths of our broken and lonely hearts. The Holy Spirit brings before the Father the prayers we cannot even begin to understand, much less articulate. This prayer in the Holy Spirit continues relentlessly throughout the day. We are in such desperate need. We rely upon the Holy Spirit, absolutely! This ongoing, sometimes conscious sometimes-unconscious prayer is at the basis of all our praying. It is the only way we will keep ourselves in the love of God and wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life. When we notice a fellow believer wavering, we are to have mercy. We are to snatch them out of the fire. Just as we have been rescued ourselves so often. Supported by prayer in the Holy Spirit we will know what to say and when to be silent so that all who stumble can find in us a strong support and a sure helper in times of distress. Indeed, the Lord Jesus Christ is the savior who has been here for us countless times before, and will be here for us as the years unfold, from age to age. Blessed be his name from ages past, and for ages to come. Amen!

After the Lord Jesus cleanses the temple, those in authority in Jerusalem confront him: “Who has given you the power to do this?” It’s not by our authority that you do these things-so where do you get your authority? Rather than fall into the trap of a public proclamation of divine mandate, Jesus answers his questioners with a question: xWas John’s baptism of divine origin or merely from men?” After throwing the ball back into their court, those in power are caught in their own game. If they admit to the authentic nature of the prophet John, they would have pleased the crowd. However, the next logical question would have been, why did you not follow his preaching if indeed you believe that he was a prophet? This controversy reveals the ongoing struggle among the People of God at this time in history. The authorities are the guardians of Temple piety, official religion. They are threatened by the powerless masses that follow a more popular religion in which the prophets like John and Jesus challenge the all too corrupt Temple guardians. For all the good that is symbolized by Temple rituals, those who are sustained financially by these practices charge money and make profit off the poor and powerless masses. The Lord Jesus and the Prophet John summon those who honestly seek the God of Israel. To join in a response to John or Jesus would begin a new kind of religion in which the Temple is of little importance. It is just such a revolution that begins here in this controversy and is brought to completion in the death and resurrection of Jesus the Christ who is the New Temple, a house of prayer for all people.