The Catholic Defender: “This temple has been under construction for forty-six years"
John 2:20 states, “This temple has been under construction for forty-six years, and you will raise it up in three days?” That is a significant passage coming from today's Gospel reading 3/7/2021. How old was Jesus when He began His public Ministry? He was 30 years old with some change. The Jews challenging Jesus said the construction of the Temple was 46 years. What is 46 minus 30? 16! How old was the Virgin Mary when she gave birth to Jesus? 16! The Immaculate Conception occurred on December 8th, 19 B.C. and the Virgin Mary was born September 8, 18 BC making her 16 years old when she gave birth to Jesus December 25, 2 B.C.!
By 20-19 BC, in the 18th year of King Herod's reign, he began renovation of the Second Temple in Jerusalem and the expansion of the Temple Mount towards the North. This effort for the Temple took a year and a half to complete while it took 80 more years to finish out-buildings and courts.
Herod suffered from a painful putrefying illness that was simply called "Herod's Evil" because he was evil. During the hot summers King Herod would go to Jericho where it would not be as hot. The point I am making is that September was a better time for Herod to oversee the work on the Temple Mount, precisely at the time of the Virgin Mary's birth. That is too uncanny! The walls to include the Eastern Gate was created a flat platform upon which the Temple was constructed. Remember that it is the Eastern Gate that was closest to the Temple and the area that only the King or High Priest would pass through!
It was through this gate that Jesus made His triumphant Entry into Jerusalem 33 A.D. (Matthew 21:1-11). The East Gate of the temple from ancient times of the Church would be seen as a type of Mary, the Tabernacle of God. In Christian tradition, the east symbolized the Resurrection and ultimately the Lord's Second Coming. That is why traditionally, our Sanctuaries and Altars are set up with the honoring of the east in mind.