Do you not know that you are the temple of God? (1 Cor 3, 16)
Christ loves the Church, handing himself over for her. He cleanses her with the bath of water with the word. Before her Lord, the Church must be holy and without blemish.
Zealous for God’s house, Jesus drives out those who keep turning it into a marketplace. Because of this cleansing gesture, he will be accused of blasphemy, as was prophet Jeremiah before.
The accusation will lead to his crucifixion, death and resurrection. But the paschal mystery will uncover the true meaning of the utterance, “Destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it up.” It reveals, moreover, the raison d’être of the temple, namely, to be Christ’s sacrament.
We who are God’s building will be neither pure nor true to ourselves unless we give meaningful and effective witness to Jesus. We are here to call attention, not to ourselves, but to Jesus. Our goal is not a business that will assure us of our own well-being and personal fulfillment.
There is certainly no lack in the Church of people who trade on the word of God, ravenous wolves disguised as sheep, false prophets or shepherds in search of shameless profit. But Jesus’ genuine followers know that their security lies only in firm faith and complete trust in Jesus. His words mean more to them than silver and gold.
In this regard, St. Vincent de Paul observes: “When the Church was practicing this [i.e., poverty] in the beginning, the faithful were all saints; but from the time one began to have one’s own property and ecclesiastics had personal benefices … everything came tumbling down” (Coste XII:398). The saint also warns: “The prior of the reformed Dominicans of this city told me … that the sorry state of their house came about after they had been in a situation of independence from Providence because they were well established and assured of a means of livelihood. …. We are not virtuous enough to be able to carry the burden of plenty and that of apostolic virtue and I fear we will never be, and that the former may ruin the latter” (Coste II:469-470).
The provident presence of God through his Son—the true Temple from which flows out living water that freshens salt waters, and makes everything fertile—is enough for us. There is no one else to go to other the one who has the cleansing words of eternal life. And the better we celebrate and live the Eucharist, the more we are Jesus’ undefiled Church and efficacious Sacrament.
“This house is yours, Lord. … Let there not be in it any stone that your hand has not placed therein.”
Ross Reyes Dizon