Cleansing of the temple


Since the Passover of the Jews was near, Jesus went up to Jerusalem. He found in the temple area those who sold oxen, sheep, and doves, as well as the money changers seated there. He made a whip out of cords and drove them all out of the temple area, with the sheep and oxen, and spilled the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables, and to those who sold doves he said, “Take these out of here, and stop making my Father’s house a marketplac­e.” His disciples recalled the words of scripture, Zeal for your house will consume me. At this the Jews answered and said to him, “What sign can you show us for doing this?” Jesus answered and said to them, “Destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it up.” The Jews said, “This temple has been under constructi­on for forty-six years, and you will raise it up in three days?” But he was speaking about the temple of his body. Therefore, when he was raised from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this, and they came to believe the scripture and the word Jesus had spoken.



The Gospel describes one rare occasion when Jesus is very angry. He overturns the tables of merchants and money changers and even makes a whip out of cords to drive them and their animals out of the temple area.

This is what we call “righteous anger.” The evangelist recalls the prophet Zechariah’s words that explain Jesus’ action, “Zeal for your house will consume me.” Jesus is not against working for one’s livelihood; what he condemns in the Gospel is the lack of respect for the holy place, the house of prayer.

Common sense tells us that churches are meant to be places of worship, not centers of business. Using cellphones and engaging in conversati­on during liturgical services are modern-day examples of making the Father’s house into a marketplac­e.

*** How zealous am I in promoting respect for places of prayer and worship?

SOURCE: “365 Days with the Lord,” ST PAULS, 7708 St. Paul Rd., SAV, Makati City (Phils.); Tel.: 895-9701; Fax 895-7328; E-mail: publishing@stpauls.ph; Website: http://www.stpauls.ph.

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