There are Temples and then There Are Temples
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.( John 2: 13-22)
I imagine myself visiting the Temple when Jesus enters. I am accustomed to the money changers, and to the hucksters who convenience worshipers by selling cattle, sheep and doves for the ritual sacrifices. The fury of Jesus startles me, makes me think. Surely these guys are making an honest few bucks?
As I re-read the Gospel passage, I was drawn to the latter part of today’s reading—the conversation between Jesus and the Jews about the temple. The narrator reveals that Jesus is speaking not about a temple of stones but about his own body. As Paul tells the Corinthians in today’s second reading, we are temples of God and the Holy Spirit dwells in us. Thus, the temple which we should be most concerned about is the temple of our own self—our body, mind, and soul.
That brought me immediately to I think of those of us who follow this faith series. We share a common belief that we are living tabernacles upon receipt of the Eucharist. What does that truly mean to us? What do we do to preserve this tabernacle? How often during a day do we go out of our way to be sure that “the candle” (our exterior actions) outside the tabernacle burns brightly and lets others know that we take our faith to heart and try to live it every day. How often, during the day, do we allow our prayers, to rise like incense, to God? Or do we, similar to Good Friday, allow the doors of the living tabernacle of our lives to remain open because the Eucharist is no longer present?
Prayer of The Day
Jesus, you did so much for me. You gave your mortal life so that I could know the promise of eternal life. You suffered a death on the cross that goes beyond the pain of human understanding. Help me to use the days of my mortal life to bring you glory and to bring others to see you in the reflection of my life.
Today we celebrate the dedication of St. John Lateran Basilica, known as the “mother and head of all the churches.” Going to Rome and visiting this wonderful church, now some seventeen centuries old, one gets a sense of the durability of Catholicism. The Catholic Church has been around for a long time, and it will be around for a lot longer — until judgment day, to be exact. No matter how hard the world has tried, it hasn’t been able to destroy the temple of the Church. This should give us deep confidence that the Lord is with us as we journey through history.
- Posted in: Reflections