In today's gospel reading it is the day after the cleansing of the Temple in Jerusalem. After spending the night outside the city, Jesus and his disciples return to the Temple. Shortly after their arrival the Chief Priests and other leaders of the people come up to Jesus. No doubt they had been told all about the actions of Jesus in cleansing the Temple. It seems clear that they regard the upkeep of the Temple as their prerogative, and they aren't willing to have an outsider like Jesus interfere with their authority.
This was not the first encounter Jesus had with the Chief Priests and leaders of the people. He had engaged them several times previously. And each time they refused to believe what Our Lord told them. They understand Jesus perfectly well, but in their pride and obstinacy they close their minds and their hearts to the words of Jesus. On this occasion Jesus declines to prolong the dialogue with them. The end of his public life here on earth is approaching and he has more work to do. There are many other visitors to the Temple who will listen and really hear his words.
Not all the leaders of the people were as close minded as Annas and Caiaphas and their cohorts. There were other influential men like Joseph of Arimathea and Zacchaeus who listened to the words of Jesus and believed in him. And of course many of the people of Jerusalem did too. The Christian Church at its very beginning included many Jewish people. I think the lesson of this gospel is that we today need to imitate the response of these people and avoid that of Annas and Caiaphas and their followers. We are called to listen to, to believe in, and to follow Jesus.
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