Gospel: Jn 2: 13-22
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.
YOU ARE GOD’S TEMPLE: Each and every one of us is God’s temple. Saint Paul reminds us that “the temple of God, which we are, is holy” because God made our human hearts His dwelling place and our bodies the temple of the Holy Spirit. But how many times do we trample down this holiness by making our bodies a marketplace through genital mutilations, fornications, etc? Today Jesus invites us to stop making our bodies a marketplace but to respect our bodies and allow God’s holiness to flow from us to the world and give back hope and life to people around us just as, in the temple vision of Ezekiel, water flowed from the temple to refresh the sea and give life to every kind of creatures that can multiply. Let us also make ourselves holy by doing good deeds.
PRAYER: O God, help me to be holy as you are holy.
GOD PITCHES HIS TENT IN HUMAN HEARTS: “Zeal for your House will consume me”, was not just a crazy feeling for a brick and mortar structure. True, the Temple counted big in His scheme of things. But more significant was the allusion to the “Body as the Temple”. St Paul affirms this fact of God’s temple and wants this to be well taken care of. This House of God built on the foundation of Christ is your commitment. Let every believer take himself no less than God’s dwelling place, and every effort must be undertaken to build and decorate that structure and never demean it. Oh! How wonderful to note: human beings raised to such an exalted existence.
SACRED SPACE: On feasts and commemorations of the dedication of churches, such as today, the Word of God invites us to appreciate the importance of sacred spaces in our lives. In all religious traditions, there are sacred times and sacred spaces that offer a possibility for human beings to raise their minds and hearts to God. In some traditional African religions, there were sacred shrines. In the gospel today, Jesus not only invites the people to honour the sacred space of the temple, but equates his own body to the Temple of Jerusalem. That is the attitude that we have towards the physical churches in the Catholic tradition today. Our churches are not just halls for worship, but they represent the body of Christ, and they house the body of Christ in the Eucharist. Let us once again remind ourselves of the sense of awe and reverence that this sacred space raises within us!