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.
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.
Today, we confront the raw indignation of Jesus who decided it was time to “clean house.” Here, Jesus acts with authority in response to the commercialism that had developed around the temple. The temple was a tangible sign of God’s presence among the people, and worship and prayer were supposed to be its focus.
Jesus goes beyond flipping tables in an effort to reform the temple system, however. He points to the day when the temple in Jerusalem would be replaced by the temple of his own risen body.
As we pray today, let us do so reminded that we ourselves are temples of the Holy Spirit (1 Cor 6:19). As we seek to “clean house” through our daily Examen, may we ask Jesus for the clarity of vision to see what is crowding the space of our own temple, and displacing our deepest desire to offer praise, reverence, and service to God.
Good and gracious God, help me to see my life as you see it. May I be willing to clean out all those things that are taking my attention away from you, so that the temple within me is prepared to worship you. Amen.
—The Jesuit Prayer team
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