June 2 2023 Gospel Reading and Reflection: Mark 11:11-26

6/2/2023 (Friday) Today’s gospel reading: Mark 11:11-26

11 Jesus entered Jerusalem, went into the Temple, and looked round at everything. But since it was already late in the day, he went out to Bethany with the twelve disciples.
12 The next day, as they were coming back from Bethany, Jesus was hungry.
13 He saw in the distance a fig tree covered with leaves, so he went to see if he could find any figs on it. But when he came to it, he found only leaves, because it was not the right time for figs.
14 Jesus said to the fig tree, “No one shall ever eat figs from you again!” And his disciples heard him.
15 When they arrived in Jerusalem, Jesus went to the Temple and began to drive out all those who were buying and selling. He overturned the tables of the moneychangers and the stools of those who sold pigeons,
16 He did not permit anyone to carry anything through the temple area.
17 Then he taught them saying, “Is it not written: My house shall be called a house of prayer for all peoples? But you have made it a den of thieves.”
18 The chief priests and the scribes came to hear of it and were seeking a way to put him to death, yet they feared him because the whole crowd was astonished at his teaching.
19 When evening came, they went out of the city.
20 Early in the morning, as they were walking along, they saw the fig tree withered to its roots.
21 Peter remembered and said to him, “Rabbi, look! The fig tree that you cursed has withered.”
22 Jesus said to them in reply, “Have faith in God.
23 Amen, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be lifted up and thrown into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart but believes that what he says will happen, it shall be done for him.
24 For this reason I tell you: when you pray and ask for something, believe that you have received it, and you will be given whatever you ask for.
25 And when you stand and pray, forgive anything you may have against anyone, so that your Father in heaven will forgive the wrongs you have done.”

6/2/2023 (Friday) Today’s gospel reflection: Mark 11:11-26

At the center of the gospel passage above is the cleansing of the Jerusalem Temple by Jesus. During that time, the Temple was the center of the life of the Jewish people. Yet, it was too commercialized and Jesus took the initiative to bring it back to its purpose: a place of worship.

In between the cleansing of the temple, we read the story of the Fig tree. Jesus saw it with full of leaves but no Figs. That is, there was no fruit. So, Jesus was disappointed and cursed it. Now we can see the relation of the Temple and the Fig tree. The Temple is the most important structure in the whole nation of Israel while in the Old Testament, the Fig tree symbolizes Israel itself (Hosea 9:10, Micah 7:1). The leaves of the Fig trees can be likened to the hypocrisy of the religious leaders during the time of Jesus. Where are the fruits in the vineyard of the Lord? There were none because the religious leaders had worldly businesses and they had lost focus on the real business of the Lord.

In 1 Corinthians 6:19, Saint Paul states that our body is the temple of the Holy Spirit. Many of us had forgotten this important fact and instead have used our bodies for worldly endeavors and pleasures. Let us pray that Jesus may cleanse our bodies and help us to bear fruit as we continue to work in His vineyard.

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