In today’s Gospel Luke describes the crowds as hanging on Our Lord’s words so much that the authorities are afraid of doing anything to him for fear of the crowds. Those crowds, knowingly or unknowingly, are already starting to imitate Christ. As Our Lord is driving the vendors out of the Temple he is acting because of God’s past word: in mentioning a “house of prayer” and a “den of thieves” he is sizing up the way the temple should be, how it is, and the need to do something about it. He is taking two separate teachings in Sacred Scripture and connecting the dots to translate the word of God into action.
Society today doesn’t hang on Our Lord’s every word, even in societies founded by Christians. Our Lord is often mocked and ridiculed, and, by extension, so are “Christians”. Governments, whether considered democratic or despotic, don’t value the Christian outlook, or even contradict it. That’s why we need to continue to “hang” onto Our Lord’s words and teachings and translate them into action and goodexample, not just for Christians, but for society. God’s Word wants to inspire us and transform us, and we have to let it in. If society, especially its leaders, sees many people “hanging” on Our Lord’s words they’ll be just as afraid to mistreat him as those Temple officials were afraid of political backlash.
Let’s resolve today to “hang” on Our Lord’s words again. Repeating them to others may not make much of an impact, but if society sees kindness and compassion (even if they don’t realize it’s driven by charity), confidence and optimism (even if they don’t realize it’s powered by hope), and an insight and wisdom into life and the meaning of life (even if they don’t realize it’s illuminated by faith), they too will start to examine their lives and go to the source of that will teach them and instill in them a faith, hope, and charity that will transform society for the better.
Readings: 1 Maccabees 4:36–37, 52–59; 1 Chronicles 29:10b–d, 11–12d; Luke 19:45–48. See also 8th Week in Ordinary Time, Friday, Year I.