Gospel Reflection Friday (18 November) – 33rd week Ordinary Time – People hung on his every word
Fr Paul reads from the Gospel of Luke (19: 45-48) in which Jesus drives out those who were selling in the temple; he taught in the temple every day; meanwhile the Chief Priests and scribes tried to do away with him but did not know how because all the people hung on his words.
Fr Paul says Luke, in this Gospel, downplays the turmoil that was wreaked in the Temple by Jesus when we read Mark’s Gospel. There is no overturning of the tables, no making of a whip, no turning out the dove-sellers. It is toned down; All we know in this Gospel, it that Jesus only ‘begins to drive out’ the sellers.
This is no doubt because Luke emphasizes that the prophet, Jesus, is to use the Temple every day until the very end (Luke 21:37). Jesus is going to be in the temple and us it as the platform for his teaching. It is for his prophetic teaching that he cleanses the Temple of merchants, as well as to fulfil the prophecy of Zechariah that there would be no traders in the Temple. He is the messenger of the Lord purifying his Temple (Malachi 3.1).
So, the authorities react not to his actions but to his teaching, searching for something which would enable them to destroy him, something to catch him out on. So, it is precisely for his prophetic teaching and the fascination of the listeners that the authorities just want to get rid of Jesus. Jesus himself had said that a prophet cannot die anywhere but in Jerusalem (Luke 13.33).
There is an image in this Gospel today where we are told that the people hung onto the words of Jesus, for our reflection, Fr Paul invites us to reflect on this question, ‘How well do I listen to the word of God?’