Saturday, November 21, 2015

They No Longer Dared To Ask Him Anything

So he called in all his Friends and said to them: "Sleep has departed from my eyes, for my heart is sinking with anxiety. I said to myself: 'Into what tribulation have I come, and in what floods of sorrow am I now! Yet I was kindly and beloved in my rule.' But I now recall the evils I did in Jerusalem, when I carried away all the vessels of gold and silver that were in it, and for no cause gave orders that the inhabitants of Judah be destroyed. 1 Maccabees 6:10-12

And they no longer dared to ask him anything. Luke 20:40

From the beginning of “The Canticle of Mary”

My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord,
My Spirit rejoices in God my Savior
For He has looked with favor on His lowly servant.

From this day all generations will call me blessed:
The Almighty has done great things for me,
And holy is His Name.

He has mercy on those who fear Him in every generation.

He has shown the strength of His arm,
He has scattered the proud in their conceit.

He has cast down the mighty from their thrones,
And has lifted up the lowly.

He has filled the hungry with good things,
And the rich He has sent away empty.

(From www.AmericanCatholic.Org):  “It is sometimes difficult for modern Westerners to appreciate a feast like this [Presentation of Mary in the temple by her parents]. The Eastern Church, however, was quite open to this feast and even somewhat insistent about celebrating it. Even though the feast has no basis in history, it stresses an important truth about Mary: From the beginning of her life, she was dedicated to God. She herself became a greater temple than any made by hands. God came to dwell in her in a marvelous manner and sanctified her for her unique role in God's saving work. At the same time, the magnificence of Mary enriches her children. They, too, are temples of God and sanctified in order that they might enjoy and share in God's saving work.”

Mary – who is the epitome of the powerless – a teenage Jewish girl who is pregnant out of wedlock – is contrasted with stories of the rich and powerful kings and rulers of the temple.  The handmaid of the Lord will turn her life over to the power of God – yet the earthly and religious rulers do not want to give up power.

In the first reading from the Hebrew Bible, we come across King Antiochus not liking the tables of war turned on him. As long as he was winning his military campaigns against Egypt and sacking Jerusalem, he never expressed sorrow for his actions. Now he finds his armies and his power on a losing streak. His armies were losing and he is losing sleep over what he has done to the Jewish people.

The Pharisees and the Sadducees also did not like having their power in the temple challenged by this itinerant preacher from Nazareth. They were constantly trying to trap Jesus with tough questions. Just as the Maccabees challenged King Antiochus, Jesus answered the temple challenge with a strong defense of the truth that it ended his “inquisition” by the temple authorities. “Teacher, you have answered well.”

Some of the people are beginning to realize through experience what Peter, John and James learned on the top of the mountain when the voice of God proclaimed, "This is my chosen Son; listen to him."

As we mark the Presentation of Mary, are we prepared for the tables to be turned on what we think is important?

What is keeping you up at night or bothering your conscience? We have an answer to our anxiety. Seek forgiveness from the Lord through the sacrament of reconciliation.

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