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Dr. Tim Gray from the Augustine Institute presented a series of 30 mins FORMED Live virtual talks focused on the study of the biblical account of Holy Week starting from Palm Sunday. Each day, a very learned special guest will sit with Gray sharing in depth on the topic at hand.

It was the most enriching study material which deepened my understanding of events and its significance leading up to the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Sunday - Understanding Palm Sunday

Palm Sunday marks the start of Holy Week with Jesus’ triumphant entry into Jerusalem (Matthew 21). For the 1st time in his ministry, Jesus allows the people to hail him as King. In Holy Week, we recognize that Jesus is both king and healer.

Riding on a donkey
As Jesus enters into Jerusalem, the prophecy reveals Jesus’ royalty as he ride in on a donkey, which he appointed two of his disciples to fetch for him. This mimics King Solomon when he was anointed as king on a wild donkey. It was a symbol of a Humble King to ride in on a donkey compared to a war horse. This contrasts to the second coming of Christ in Revelations.

Laying of cloaks
As Jesus enters the city, cloaks were laid on the ground. In ancient times, cloaks were a status symbol, the people laying them down for Jesus represented submission.

Waving of palm branches
The people sees Jesus as the cleanser of the temple, like Judas Maccabeus, as they waved palm branches. They were expecting a Messiah, one who would crush the enemy as palms waved where used in a victory procession.

The New Temple
Jesus however is the new temple - Psalm 1:18
The physical temple is the micro cosmos of the universe.
Psalm 8 is know as the "The song of the Astronomer", as gazing at the heavens in verse 3, inspires the psalmist to meditate on God's creation and man's place in it.

Monday - Jesus’ Demonstration in the Temple

Cursing of the fig tree
In Mark 11:12, while leaving Bethany, Jesus encounters a fig tree. The fig tree is a symbol for Israel, the people of God. Jesus was hungry - hunger for justice and fidelity. As he nears his imminent time of death, he expected Israel to have come to spiritual maturity. The cursing of the fig tree was directed at the Jews who have not accepted Jesus as King. The tree withered from the roots after Jesus cursed it. The fruitless fig tree draws us back to prior points in Jesus’s ministry, when God’s people were called to produce spiritual fruit.

Cleansing of the temple
Activities at the temple came to a halt with a closure of worship and sacrifice when Jesus drove out buying and selling at the temple grounds. The chief priests exploited the sale of pigeons and dove which were purchased by the poor at the outer courts. The priests were robbers who took advantage of the poor. Robbers were like brigands, who plots and murders. A juxtaposition to Jesus’ crucifixion.

“Is it not written, ‘My house shall be called for all nations the house of prayer’? But ye have made it a den of thieves.” - Mark 11:17

“These I will bring to my holy mountain and give them joy in my house of prayer. Their burnt offerings and sacrifices will be accepted on my altar; for my house will be called a house of prayer for all nations.” - Isaiah 56:7

The story of the tenants
Jesus shared the story of the tenants of the vineyard found in Matthew 21:33–34, foretelling of his death and the falling of the temple. Interpretation of temple of the Lord as the vineyard of the Lord (Isaiah 5). Priests are hired by God as stewards but instead they did the opposite. This co-relates to Joseph and his brothers with Jesus and the priests.

Rejection of the corner stone. We are called to prepare ourselves as a pure and holy temple for the lord. - Psalm 1:18

Tuesday - Jesus’ Prophecy Of the End of the Temple and the World

The 3 entanglement of Jesus in Mark 12 by the Chef Priests compared to the 3 tests Jesus encountered with the devil in the desert. Similarities of the beginning and end of his public ministry.

Taxes paid to Cesar
While Jesus teaches within the grounds of the temple, the priests plots the perfect trap on Jesus to the topic of taxes to Cesar. Both yes or no answers will either blaspheme God or disrespect the authority to Cesar. Jesus cleverly asks for a Roman coin and asks whose image and likeness is it on the coin. By not recognizing Cesar’s image on the coin, Jesus is putting Cesar in his place and exposes the priests back on their hypocrisy as they owned pagan coins within the holy place. Pagan kings put their images (on statues, banners and coins) to mark their kingdom. But to God, our image and likeness is formed in Adam and Eve, we owe God our entire life and being. Where ever humanity is, we are signs of God’s Lordship and sovereignty.

Jesus declares the destruction of the temple
As Jesus left the temple and was walking away, His disciples came up to Him to point out its buildings. “Do you see all these things?” He replied. “Truly I tell you, not one stone here will be left on another; every one will be toppled.” - Matthew 24:2

Destruction of the temple and the cosmos (world)

Wednesday - Spy Wednesday

Called Spy Wednesday as Judas plots with the high priests to betray Jesus in Matthew 26.

Woman and the oil
The scene of Mary Magdalene from Bethany represented the refuge and calm before the storm. Judas who was treasurer among the disciples was using money from the community for himself. He was upset that expensive oil which could have been sold for money was wasted on Jesus. Judas could not understand selfless acts. The scene co-relates to the prophecy of Mary preparing Jesus for his burial, filled with fragrance in the room that fills the world.

Judas’ betrayal
Foreshadowing of Judas co-relates to brothers of Joseph, selling him as a slave. Judas uses the term “Rabbi” when asked by Jesus if any one will betray him. The rest of the disciples used Lord. Judas sees Jesus as only a teacher.

Category: Faith
Category: Wisdom
Lent to Easter in COVID-19
Entering into Holy Week
Last week of Lent
Lenten Reflection 2009
Lenten Reflection - Priest, Prophet and King #4
Lenten Reflection - Priest, Prophet and King #3
Lenten Reflection - Priest, Prophet and King #2
Lenten Reflection - Priest, Prophet and King #1
Quote from Rev Mgr Eugene Vaz
Gospel of Matthew Graduate

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