Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Luke 19: 45-48
Rv 10: 8-11 / Ps 119: 14, 24, 72, 103, 111, 131

My house shall be a house of prayer, but you have made it a den of thieves.
(Luke 19:46)

This temple has been purified
By blood of Jesus crucified.
Remember if it’s stained again,
Christ’s death would then have been in vain.

Jesus entered the temple and began to drive out those who were selling things, saying to them, “It is written,`My house shall be a house of prayer’; but you have made it a den of thieves.” And He was teaching daily in the temple. The chief priests and the scribes and the principal men of the people sought to destroy Him; but they did not find anything they could do, for all the people hung upon His words. (Luke 19: 45-48)

Reflection

Our Lord Jesus was always faithful to Scriptures even when He had to take drastic measures against those who defiled God’s temple. As He drove the money changers out of the temple grounds, He quoted Isaiah (56:7: “My house shall be a house of prayer”), and Jeremiah (7:11: “Has this house which bears my name become in your eyes a den of thieves?”). By quoting Holy Scriptures, He made it clear that His actions were fully justified, because they were the fulfillment of the prophecies of those ancient heralds of God.

Today the Church celebrates the feast of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary in the temple. According to the apocryphal infancy narrative of St. James, Mary’s parents, St. Joachim and St. Anne, who had been childless, received a heavenly message that they would bear a child. In thanksgiving for the gift of their daughter, they brought her at around the age of 3 to the temple in Jerusalem to consecrate her to God. Mary remained in the temple until puberty. Tradition has it that she would remain there in preparation for her role as the Mother of God. The Blessed Virgin herself has come to symbolize the purest of God’s temples, second only to her Son as a model for us to follow.

This Gospel account of Luke about the cleansing of the temple inspires us to see that life is a continuous process of purification. Most of the time it may involve pain and rejection, but it is necessary to purge our temple of all materialistic or venal influences if we want to reach the level of holiness that God calls us to attain. It also tells us how serious a crime against God’s sacred institution is when we defile it with the commerce of a marketplace. Imagine mammon taking precedence over worship in the sacred place of worship? Such insult only deserves swift punishment!

“By wisdom a house is built, by discernment the foundation is laid; by knowledge its storerooms filled with riches of every kind, rare and desirable.” (Prov.24:3-4) These are what the Lord has done, and “I shall dwell in the house of the Lord for years to come.” (Psalm 23:6)

You tell me in today’s Gospel, Lord, that my house, this temple of Your Holy Spirit must always be a house of prayer, because there is always the danger that without prayers my body can turn into a ‘den of thieves’. Help me to be vigilant in my prayers, because to be faithful to Jesus is victory, as falling into sin is defeat. Come, Holy Spirit, always abide in my heart. Mother Mary, holiest of God’s temples, intercede for us in our prayers. Amen.

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