A reading from the gospel according to John 2:13-22
13 Since the Passover of the Jews was near, Jesus went up to Jerusalem.
14 He found in the temple area those who sold oxen, sheep, and doves, as well as the money-changers seated there.
15 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,
16 and to those who sold doves he said, “Take these out of here, and stop making my Father’s house a marketplace.”
17 His disciples recalled the words of Scripture, Zeal for your house will consume me.
18 At this the Jews answered and said to him, “What sign can you show us for doing this?”
19 Jesus answered and said to them, “Destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it up.”
20 The Jews said, “This temple has been under construction for forty-six years, and you will raise it up in three days?”
21 But he was speaking about the temple of his Body.
22 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.
Reflection: Cleaning up the real temple
For too long, Jesus had observed how people have desecrated the place of worship. Filled with the Holy Spirit during His baptism at the River Jordan, He exercised His authority with much zeal by cleaning the temple area of merchants and their merchandise. Picture Him as a man with a whip out of cord, overturning tables and telling people most probably with a loud voice to stop making His Father’s house a marketplace. There is such a thing as spiritual anger or righteous anger.
When the people asked Him for a sign of His authority, Jesus pointed out the temple of His body. Of course, the people then did not grasp what he said but the disciples understood it after the resurrection. The word temple has now taken a new meaning. It does not only refer to the physical structure of a building but also to the human body. Saint Paul asked, “Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own” (1 Corinthians 6:19). Thus, the presence of God is now in us.
Let us note that the gospel reading above is found at the beginning of the gospel of Saint John. It makes us realized how important to cleanse ourselves as temple of God before we start out ministry. Just as we make our churches physically clean and orderly and devoid of any unnecessary disturbances, we also make sure that we ourselves, especially our inner selves are free from sin through constant repentance and observance of the commandments. Moreover, we must also look up to Jesus who was unafraid to do and say what is right.
Everywhere there is violence and injustices that desecrate the temple of God. Like Jesus, let us be courageous to speak up against the things that make God angry.