Tuesday of the First Week of Ordinary Time
Alleluia 1 THES 2:13
R. Alleluia, alleluia. Receive the word of God, not as the word of men, but as it truly is, the word of God. R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Gospel MK 1:21-28
Jesus came to Capernaum with his followers, and on the sabbath he entered the synagogue and taught. The people were astonished at his teaching, for he taught them as one having authority and not as the scribes. In their synagogue was a man with an unclean spirit; he cried out, “What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are–the Holy One of God!” Jesus rebuked him and said, “Quiet! Come out of him!” The unclean spirit convulsed him and with a loud cry came out of him.
All were amazed and asked one another, “What is this? A new teaching with authority. He commands even the unclean spirits and they obey him.” His fame spread everywhere throughout the whole region of Galilee.
Jesus came to Capernaum with his followers, and on the sabbath he entered the synagogue and taught. The people were astonished at his teaching, for he taught them as one having authority and not as the scribes.
Have you ever wondered what the difference was between Jesus teaching in a synagogue and when he was found in the Temple sitting and talking to the scribes as a twelve year old (Luke 2: 46)? Are synagogue and temple synonyms for the same place?
I was curious and did a little research. A synagogue is taken from a Greek word which means "house of assembly" in Hebrew the word is "beit k'nesset" which in the literal translation means house of assembly. The Temple in Judaism most commonly is referring to the Ancient Temple in Jerusalem.
The Temple in Jerusalem is where God resided and was a place of worship in ancient times. This is where sacrifices were offered to God along with the prayers of the people. It was King David's son, King Solomon, who built the first Temple in Jerusalem. The Temple was built to house the Ark of the Covenant which was where God would come to dwell with His people. King David wanted to build a house for God, but it was David's son who built the Temple. This Temple was partially destroyed by the Babylonians during the Babylonian Exile. After the Babylonian Exile during the reign of King Cyrus the Israelites began to rebuild the Temple. When it was finished it was known as the Second Temple. In 70 AD the temple was destroyed by the Romans. When you go to Jerusalem the closest you can get to the Temple site is the Western retaining wall known as the "Wailing Wall" or in Hebrew the "Kotel." There is a mosque built on the site of the Temple known as the Dome of the Rock, which is a Muslim Holy Shrine. The traditional Jews believe that the Temple will be rebuilt when the Messiah comes.
So what are Synagogues? Synagogues are places of assembly, a place where Jews go to read and learn about the the sacred scrolls. In modern times they are also schools and community centers. The Reform Jews do not call their places of worship synagogues, instead they refer to them as temples. They believe that they are like little temples. Yet, the Orthodox Jews take offense at the misuse of calling a synagogue a temple. According to them a temple is where God is present in the "Holy of Holies" and the temple was destroyed. Therefore, it is more acceptable to all to use the term synagogue.
When Jesus was in Capernaum, He went to a Synagogue on the Sabbath. So, He read the sacred scrolls and taught those assembled in that area. When Jesus went to Jerusalem He went to the Temple and read the sacred scrolls and taught. Yet, Jesus didn't restrict His teaching only to the Synagogues and the Temple. He taught where ever people gathered: on shorelines, on hillsides, at a well. He went where people were to teach them about God, His Father, and the Kingdom of God. He came to dwell with us.
Let us pray for all priests to boldly preach the truth and to be more like Jesus.
Join us now in praying the Prayer for Priests.
Rose Book of Bible Charts, Maps and Time Lines, 10th Edition, published by Hendrickson and Rose