Scripture: Lectionary 501.  I Macc. 4:36-37, 52-59. I Chronicles
29:10.11.11-12. 12. Luke 19:45-48:

Friday's Readings

“Jesus was walking in the temple area, in the portico of Solomon.” (John
10:22). We see a parallel between this verse and what is being narrated in
I Maccabees chapter 4.  The historical event is the establishment of the
festivity of the Dedication of the Temple in Jerusalem after the ruin that
Antiochus Epiphanes left.  The “abomination of desolation” (a statue of
Zeus) had been removed and destroyed.  Judas Maccabaeus then purifies the
area and cleanses the surroundings near the new altar so that a pure and
clean oblation may be made to the Lord. The event takes place in the month
of Chislev and is the foundation for the present day celebration of
Hanukkah which always takes place in December and parallels our
Advent/Christmas celebrations.  Some Jewish-Catholic couples celebrate both
during this season or holiday week.

Judas Maccabaeus, after whom the books of the Maccabees are named ,is the
one who rededicates and restores the altar and its furnishings.  The
festival of worship, prayer and sacrifice lasts for an octave or eight
days.  The word Chanukah or Hanukkah means inauguration and refers to the
celebration that took place in 146 B.C. “And in memory of the Temple
menorah (candelabra) defiled by the pagans but miraculous relit, Jews light
a special Chanukah candelabra on eight successive evenings by a window or
front door—for all the world to see. “ (Lewis Glinert, The Joys of Hebrew,
p. 45).

Our reading from Luke helps us to see that the Journey Narrative is over
and that Jesus is living out his last days in Jerusalem.  He is probably
meditating as he walks the portico of Solomon which was a covered walkway
on the eastern side of the Temple after its restoration.  Jesus has
cleansed the Temple and made more enemies because of this action. Judas
Maccabaeus had cleansed the area and then had a new altar set up. Both were
concerned that the Temple and its altar be solely for God. The Temple was
never meant to be a house for thieves or for those who desecrated its
sacred precincts.

Jesus has infuriated the religious leaders and the money changers.  He is
soon to be captured, scourged, and judged to be crucified.   And we who
have followed him throughout the Journey Narrative (Luke 8:14-19:44)have
become his disciples and now have learned that we will share in the last
journey of Jesus life and ours—the Way of the Cross.  Yes, “Lord, by your
Cross and Resurrection you have set us free. You are the Savior of the
World.” Amen.