Feast of the dedication.
The feast of the Dedication was then 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."
FEAST OF THE DEDICATION. This feast celebrates the dedication of the new altar of the Jerusalem Temple in 165 BC by the Maccabee brothers after the Temple and the altar were desecrated by Seleucid rulers, in particular, Antiochus IV Epiphanes. Once again, sacrifice could be offered to the Lord. Judas and his brothers then ordered that the days of the dedication of the altar should be observed with joy and gladness on the anniversary (cf 1 Mc 4:59). Later, this feast around December would be celebrated as the Hannukah, the feast of lights.
The Gospel continues the allegory of shepherd-sheep. The feast of the Dedication is a reminder of the freedom regained by the Jews under the leadership of the Maccabees. These nationalistic fighters proved to be true shepherds, unlike other leaders, including even the High Priests in Jerusalem who readily agreed to the Hellenization of the people on the part of the pagan Seleucids.
The Jews ask Jesus to tell them plainly if he is indeed the Messiah, the glorious figure expected to lead the people against their enemies. Without denying that indeed he is the Messiah, Jesus points to himself as the Good Shepherd who gives eternal life to people.
Do you pray for the Pope, your diocesan bishop, and your parish priest? Do you know priests who prove themselves shepherds after Jesus' heart?
SOURCE: "365 Days with the Lord 2018," ST. PAULS Philippines, 7708 St. Paul Rd., SAV, Makati City (Phils.); Tel.: 895-9701; Fax 895-7328; E-mail: email@example.com; Website: http://www.stpauls.ph.