Purifying Our Temple

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 proceeded 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 every day He was teaching in the temple area. The chief priests and the scribes and the leaders of the people, meanwhile, were seeking to put Him to death, but they could find no way to accomplish their purpose, because all the people were hanging on 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.

This Gospel account of Luke about Jesus cleansing the temple of thieves and swindlers shows how serious a crime against God’s sacred institution (the Church) is when we defile it with the commerce of a marketplace. Can you imagine mammon taking precedence over worship in the sacred place of worship? This happens whenever a mobile phone rings and disturbs the atmosphere of meditation. Or when a business deal is being discussed while the celebrant is delivering his homily (or worse, during the Consecration). The Temple of God is where we sanctify our own temples whenever we receive our Lord Jesus in the celebration of the Holy Eucharist. Let us give it the adoration and proper respect that it deserves.

Today’s Gospel also inspires us to see that our body (as St. Paul said in 1Cor.6:19) is the temple of the Holy Spirit, and is in a continuous process of purification. This process may at times 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 is in our constant space and time devoted to praise and worship that we grow in holiness and communion with God. Whether in times of suffering or in times of blessings, let us make it a lifelong habit to strive for holiness in prayer.

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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