SAINT ROSE PHILIPPINE DUCHESNE, VIRGIN (OPTIONAL MEMORIAL)
Jesus entered the temple area.
Luke’s Gospel is moving toward its climax: Jesus enters Jerusalem as the true king of Israel coming to take his rightful place. As we know, the crown and throne that this king will be given were made not of gold but of thorns and nails and a wooden cross. He came to rule with the surpassing power of love rather than the limited power of an army. This is clear immediately after Jesus’ triumphal entry into the city: he goes not to the seat of military power but to the spiritual heart of the kingdom: “the temple area” (Luke 19:45).
Luke tells us Jesus did two things when he arrived there. First, he purified the Temple, restoring it to its proper purpose as a house of prayer. Next, he taught the people, who fed hungrily upon his words. And by establishing Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem as the climax of his story in this way, Luke shows how Jesus fulfilled the bright promises that the priest Zechariah announced at the very beginning of the Gospel: God has “visited and brought redemption to his people” so that “without fear we might worship him in holiness and righteousness” (Luke 1:68, 74-75).
In just two days, we will celebrate the feast of Christ the King. What Luke shows us about Jesus’ first coming—both in his birth and in his arrival at the Temple—can help us encounter Jesus the King in our prayer. Just as he entered the world as a humble child and the royal city of Jerusalem as a prophet of transformation, Jesus wants to enter your heart—humbly and with the promise of a new life.
Today in prayer, imagine yourself giving the keys to the “city” of your life to Jesus. Allow him to go straight to the “temple” of your heart and purify you. Such cleansing can feel uncomfortable, but remember, God is setting you free to worship him. He is setting you free from the things in your life that compete for his rightful place. He is setting you free to hear his teaching and to experience his love and his presence.
So don’t be afraid. Jesus, your king, has loved you to the end. Welcome him today.
“Lord Jesus, come into my heart. Purify me and set me free!”
Psalm 119:14, 24, 72, 103, 111, 131