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The Bible In A Year: Day 52

Numbers 7
Job 8-10
Psalm 49
Mark 11

This chapter of Numbers goes over the offerings brought by the leaders of the twelve tribes. They each bring a silver plate and bowl, and a gold bowl, also grain and incense offerings. These alone with the animal offerings are gone over in great detail.

Not all offerings given to the priests were burned on the altar, things like the silver and gold bowls would be put to use in the tabernacle. Also the animals offered would sometimes be burned whole, and sometimes would have parts offered on the altar and the rest given to the priests and Levites for their own usage.

Job 8-10

In the three chapters of Job that we read today we’ll hear Bildad give a speech (8), then Job’s response (9), then some more lamenting from Job (10).

Bildad starts out by restating the principal that God punishes sinners and rewards the righteous, and although this is true in most cases, we also know that sometimes God blesses sinners and causes the righteous to suffer. But Bildad’s philosophy doesn’t consider this as a possibility and says that surely Job isn’t upright and righteous after all, even though that’s exactly how he’s introduced in chapter 1.

Bildad does get something right here though, he unknowingly tells us the end of the story when he says that Job will have better latter days than former if he is truly righteous and God vindicates him. This is exactly what comes to pass in the final chapters of this book.

Job answers Bildad by saying that he agrees that this is the way things usually work, but insists that he is unaware of any serious sin he may have committed. He also talks of the power and majesty of God, and how even though he desires to lodge a formal complaint, who is he to bring matters like this up to God.

He then begins a lament of his life, where he addresses God directly and asks rhetorical questions about his current situation. He doesn’t expect a direct answer because he knows that he’s in no position to call God into court and put him on the stand, but he still wants to know what it is he’s done.

And if he’s not going to find out why this has happened, he makes a single request to be left alone in his sorrow to have a little bit of quiet before he goes down into the grave.

Mark 11

Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem manifests the coming of the kingdom that the Messiah-King, welcomed into his city by children and the humble of heart, is going to accomplish by the Passover of his Death and Resurrection.

CCC 570

This chapter begins the final week of Jesus’ public ministry, and starts with his triumphal entry into Jerusalem. This entry holds great symbolism that is better understood when you have familiarity and a good understanding of the Old Testament. It’s the foundation of the Old Testament that the New Testament is built on.

Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem is similar in many ways to some previous entries into the city. The first is that both Jesus and Solomon rode into the city on animals not usually associated with coronations. For Jesus it was a colt, and for Solomon it was his father’s mule. Both were called “son of David” and had great crowds accompanying them into the city, while Jerusalem itself was in a commotion.

The other entry into Jerusalem that this would’ve called to mind for those witnessing it, especially since it was only a couple hundred years prior, was the entry of Simon Maccabeus into Jerusalem after their victory during the Maccabean Revolt. The city was in turmoil when Simon entered and cleansed the temple of the defilement made by Antiochus, the Seleucid king who had sacrificed a pig on the altar to Zeus. This cleansing would continue to be remembered and celebrated by Jews from that time until now, and is known by the name Hanukah.

When Simon entered the city it was to shouts of joy and people waving palm branches and laying them on the road ahead of him. So together with the original “Son of David” this new entry into the city looks like the coronation of a new king and the arrival of a nationalistic conquering hero. No wonder the priests and scribes were afraid an uprising might take place.

How will Jerusalem welcome her Messiah? Although Jesus had always refused popular attempts to make him king, he chooses the time and prepares the details for his messianic entry into the city of “his father David”. Acclaimed as son of David, as the one who brings salvation (Hosanna means “Save!” or “Give salvation!”), the “King of glory” enters his City “riding on an ass”. Jesus conquers the Daughter of Zion, a figure of his Church, neither by ruse nor by violence, but by the humility that bears witness to the truth. And so the subjects of his kingdom on that day are children and God’s poor, who acclaim him as had the angels when they announced him to the shepherds. Their acclamation, “Blessed be he who comes in the name of the Lord”, is taken up by the Church in the “Sanctus” of the Eucharistic liturgy that introduces the memorial of the Lord’s Passover.

CCC 559

When Jesus enters the temple he does not like what he sees. Even though it’s pretty safe to assume he’s been in Jerusalem every year for the annual pilgrimage festivals, he probably didn’t do what he’s about to do because it would draw too much attention and lead to his passion coming before the appointed time.

Like the prophets before him Jesus expressed the deepest respect for the Temple in Jerusalem. It was in the Temple that Joseph and Mary presented him forty days after his birth. At the age of twelve he decided to remain in the Temple to remind his parents that he must be about his Father’s business. He went there each year during his hidden life at least for Passover. His public ministry itself was patterned by his pilgrimages to Jerusalem for the great Jewish feasts.

CCC 583

Jesus violently overturning the tables of the money changers and merchants, and his complete disruption of the ongoing temple liturgy is just a small taste of the destruction coming in a few decades when the whole temple will be permanently destroyed and the old covenant liturgy ceases forever.

Jesus venerated the Temple by going up to it for the Jewish feasts of pilgrimage, and with a jealous love he loved this dwelling of God among men. The Temple prefigures his own mystery. When he announces its destruction, it is as a manifestation of his own execution and of the entry into a new age in the history of salvation, when his Body would be the definitive Temple.

CCC 593

The final scene in this chapter is the Jerusalem religious leaders questioning him and asking by who’s authority was he teaching and preaching. But because of who he is, Jesus owes them no explanation, just like Job knew that God didn’t owe him an explanation for what was happening to him. Jesus flips it around on them and traps them in a rhetorical device much like they often tried to use on him, and when they failed to answer he refused to answer them too.

Tomorrow’s Readings:
Numbers 8
Job 11-14
Psalm 50

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