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The Bible In A Year: Day 104

Judges 9
Psalm 104
Luke 19:28-48

Judges 9

After Gideon died the people fell back into idolatry and worship of Baal, just like they did after the death of almost every Judge. Now Gideon had 70 sons, because he had lots of wives, but one of his sons was born to a concubine of his, and his name was Abimelech. He sends his mother’s family to gather support for his claim to the throne that his father had explicitly rejected. The people had tried to make Gideon a king, but he declined and told the that God is their king, and he continued on as ruler and leader, but refused to establish a hereditary monarchy.

Now his illegitimate son is trying to do what his father refused. And to really start things off on the wrong note, the people in his mother’s hometown side with him, so they go and take money from the treasury of the temple of Baal to fund his usurpation of power. Abimelech goes to his father’s town and slays 69 of his 70 brothers.

The youngest, and only surviving brother of Abimelech, climbs Mount Gerizem and tells a parable of how the worthy trees and grape vines rejected being made king, so the city made a thorn bush the king. The meaning being that those most thirsty for power are usually the same people who should never wield power.

Jotham’s parable was also a prophecy, in that he said since the people of Shechem had dealt so dishonorably with Gideon’s household after all he had done to free and preserve the liberty of Israel, that they would be consumed by fire from Abimelech and he would be consumed too. So it came to pass that both Abimelech and Shechem were destroyed as a punishment from God for their crimes against the sons of Gideon.

Luke 19:28-48

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

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 sees the city he weeps over it, because he foreseen the destruction that would be visited upon the city for its role in rejecting and killing the messiah. The had been given ample opportunity, but just like the many parables he had told them, they had hardened their hearts against him and were going to receive the consequences.

Christ continues to weep for sinners who, like Jerusalem, run after evil and refuse to make peace with God. Their sins hide from their eyes the judgment that is coming, otherwise they would weep for themselves. When it arrives, demons will besiege the soul and the Lord will visit them with his dreadful punishment.

Saint Gregory the Great

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.

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

Tomorrow’s Readings:
Judges 10-11
Psalm 105
Luke 20:1-18

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