The Feast of Dedication (Hanukkah) celebrates the victory of the Maccabee brothers over the Greco-Syrian king, Antiochus IV Epiphanes, who forced the Jews to worship the Greek gods, to abandon the Law of Moses, and prohibited the reading of the Torah. Even the altar of the Jerusalem Temple was desecrated and so the Temple sacrifice was stopped. With the success of the Maccabean revolt, the altar was rededicated and the Temple reconsecrated so that the disgrace of the Gentiles was removed. Judas and his brothers and the entire congregation of Israel decreed that the days of the dedication of the altar should be observed with joy and gladness on the anniversary every year (1 Mc 4:59).
Jesus points to himself as the new Temple of God, the place of encounter between God and his people. He is the one whom the Father consecrated and sent into the world (Jn 10:36). Continuing the theme of the Good Shepherd, Jesus declares that he gives his sheep eternal life. In addition, as the one consecrated by God, he declares his divine sonship. He is thus the Divine Shepherd, one with Yahweh, the Shepherd of Israel.
GOSPEL • Jn 10:22-30
The feast of the Dedication was taking place in Jerusalem. It was winter. And Jesus walked about in the temple area on the Portico of Solomon. So the Jews gathered around him and said to him, “How long are you going to keep us in suspense? If you are the Christ, tell us plainly.” Jesus answered them, “I told you and you do not believe. The works I do in my Father’s name testify to me. But you do not believe, because you are not among my sheep. My sheep hear my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish. No one can take them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one can take them out of the Father’s hand. The Father and I are one.”
SOURCE: “365 Days with the Lord 2021,” ST. PAULS, 7708 St. Paul Rd., SAV, Makati City (Phils.); Tel.: 632-895-9701; Fax 632-895-7328; E-mail: [email protected]; Website: http://www.stpauls.ph.