Temple of the Holy Spirit

Luke 19: 45-48
1 Mc 4:36-37,52-59 / 1 Chr 29

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

This house of prayer I dedicate
To Jesus Christ with all gratitude,
In daily masses we celebrate,
And receive Him, our spiritual food.

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)


It was not only the disrespect that the merchants showed in commercializing the temple grounds, but the exorbitant prices that they charged the people for the animal sacrifices and exchange rates for their money. This was because they had to give grease money to the temple officers to ply their trade in that sacred place. Corruption in the house of God, plus the exploitation of His poor people made our Lord’s blood boil. Thus was His anger justified.

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 appropriate, because they were the fulfillment of the prophecies of those ancient prophets of God.

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!

“My own house” used to be a “den of thieves”. All sorts of sins and vices once took quarters in it, and on my own efforts I could not rid it of its propensity to wallow in sin. Then one day, when we joined our community, the Holy Spirit came to take lodging in my heart. By the simple principle of displacement, all the thieves were driven out. By the power of God’s Word and His indwelling Spirit, this house has now been swept clean; the Lord has transformed it into His temple as I receive Him every day in the Eucharistic celebration. This is what the Lord has done, and I am so grateful that “I shall dwell in the house of the Lord for years to come.” (Psalm 23:6)

Lord, in today’s Gospel, I have learned 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.

“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

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