Friday, January 11, 2019

christ clearing the temple

The Passover was approaching, and Jesus traveled to Jerusalem. In the Temple being operated by the Sanhedrin under the auspices of King Herod, 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!”    – John 2:13-16

We usually call this dramatic moment in the Gospel (set here at the beginning of the story by John) the “cleansing of the Temple”.  But more accurately I believe it was “the protest in the Temple”.  As the events of Passion Week would demonstrate … the Temple and its leadership were not cleansed at all.  But Christ in His act of protest focused His primary concern … the pressure to raise money to build the overblown Temple Project, built more for the glory of the Herodian Dynasty than for the glory of God had slowly compromised and corrupted the religious leadership of those years.  Money, much money, had to be raised by any means available and other concerns, such as providing for the poor and bringing hope to the demoralized spirit of the people, … were set aside.  This, I believe, was the Christ’s intent in this protest.

I find that there are those sensitive, spiritual souls that are in touch with the essence of what is truly good, truly of God, truly according to conscience.  And I find there are many others who try to avoid acting by the higher conscience by investing much rationalization in justifying their yielding to lesser ways that fall short of the good, godly, and of purer conscience.   We build overblown Temples and when we do make ourselves slaves to their debt and their upkeep.  We build overblown temples of power and prestige and when we do we make ourselves slaves to win-at-all-costs desperation.

I use a phrase quite often  … I believe it to be true … “For the sake of a certain cause, the greater cause is sacrificed.”

Loved Ones, be not tempted by visions of worldly glory, prestige and fame.  Loved Ones, be not tempted to keep up with Joneses in castles of desperate debt.  Loved Ones, be not tempted by hubris and pride that makes one minion of boasts once made.

Christ reminded us by His protest that a temple is a place for prayer … a place where the rich and poor mingle in community, a place where the teacher and the seeker learn from each, a place where old and young link hands in immortality, a place where God is present in the midst of humanity.

Always in Christ’s Service,

Fr. Charitas de la Cruz


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