The Passover of the Jews was near, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. In the temple he found people selling cattle, sheep, and doves, and the money changers seated at their tables. Making a whip of cords, he drove all of them out of the temple, both the sheep and the cattle. He also poured out the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables. He told those who were selling the doves, “Take these things out of here! Stop making my Father’s house a marketplace!”
His disciples remembered that it was written, “Zeal for your house will consume me.” The Jews then said to him, “What sign can you show us for doing this?” Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” The Jews then said, “This temple has been under construction for forty-six years, and will you raise it up in three days?” But he was speaking of the temple of his body. After he was raised from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this; and they believed the scripture and the word that Jesus had spoken.
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved http://www.usccb.org/bible/approved-translations
At what temple do you worship? Do you worship at the temple of your body, giving its care and feeding the priority; or at the temple of sports, preferring its rituals; or at the temple of money, making all else subordinate to its pursuit; or do you worship at the temple of the Lord?
A fourth grade Sunday School teacher at my parish used to ask his students to list the Top 10 False Gods in our neighborhood. The children readily came up with the list. If children can spot our allegiances so easily, why is it sometimes so hard for us to recognize and admit to them, to reflect on what we truly treasure and act upon it.
In today’s readings, Jesus sees the all-too-human tendency to want worldly profits from what is meant to be holy and he rages against the hypocrisy and greed, against the disrespect shown to God and all believers. St. Paul reminds us that we are not our own, but God’s and our bodies the temple of the Holy Spirit to be used in God’s service. We are called to respect the holiness within ourselves and within God’s church, which is the whole people of God.
As we gather in sacred buildings to worship the One before whom we must put no other gods, let us reflect on Christ’s cleansing action in today’s Gospel and ask that he sweep clean whatever, in our own hearts, is an obstacle to true worship of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
—Pam Coster is Executive Director of Charis Ministries. Founded in 2000, Charis Ministries reaches those in their 20s and 30s nationwide, nurturing their faith through retreats based in Ignatian spirituality. www.charisministries.org
Generous God, we live in gratitude for your many gifts. Guide us as we struggle with our weakness. Help us to grow into honest witnesses of the power of your love in our lives. Give us the grace to lay a foundation of faith to be built on by future generations. Amen.
—The Jesuit Prayer TeamPlease share the Good Word with your friends!