Jesus is the final temple that we must hallow. For through him, God is in the midst of the people in the best way that no one can surpass.
Zeal for God’s house gets the better of Jesus. That is why he is mad at the merchants and money changers in the temple area. He drives them all out, yes, in not so meek way. For they do not hallow, honor, the temple; they turn it into a marketplace.
And, of course, the place where people buy, sell and change money can easily become a “den of thieves.” When this takes place, then, there is need for a good dose of anger.
Today, too, there are those who profane churches and other things of worship that we should hallow. To know of this, it is enough for us to look at the list, by no means short, that the USCCB keeps. And this problem needs to be addressed.
But do we not have to look into ourselves first? We have to find out if we are part of the solution or of the problem, if we are to see to it that people hallow the temple. We can take the first strike with the whip if we are without sin.
And we fail to hallow places of worship when we are there for our own gain. Or when we are there since we do not have the strength to dig and are ashamed to beg. What a way to profane the altar that would be! What a lack of discipline, too, to enjoy and not bother about anything so long as we have something to eat (SV.EN XII:81). But they do not profane any less those who try to buy God with what they offer. That is to say, those who turn the God of love into a malleable idol of self-interest, fears and magic.
Hallow Jesus who takes the place of the temple already razed down
Worse profanation takes place when we do not grasp that Jesus speaks of the temple of his body. But he tells the truth, of course.
In the first place, he is the temple, for he does what takes place in the churches. He spells out what the commandments mean. Besides, he feeds us from the table of his body and blood, and the table of his word (see SC 7-8).
In the second place, more than in houses that we build (Acts 7, 48), God dwells in Jesus. And he is the Word made flesh. He bears the right name of “God-with-us.” And that is why Jesus and we are helplessly linked.
Hence, to hallow the temple that he is means to hallow, too, men and women. Most of all, the least of his brothers and sisters. They are foolish in the eyes of the world, but are wise in God’s sight. We must call out, then, all violence, scorn, defacing of any man or woman. Of those who have nothing that we may shame even when we meet to eat the Lord’s supper (1 Cor 11, 22-20).
Lord Jesus, we confess our guilt. We ask you to make our hearts clean so that we may discern your body. That we may not eat and drink judgment for failing to hallow your body and blood.
7 March 2021
Third Sunday of Lent (B)
Ex 20, 1-17; 1 Cor 1, 22-25; Jn 2, 13-25