When the time of the Jewish Passover was near Jesus went up to Jerusalem, and in the Temple he found people selling cattle and sheep and doves, and the money changers sitting there.
Making a whip out of cord, he drove them all out of the Temple, sheep and cattle as well, scattered the money changers’ coins, knocked their tables over and said to the dove sellers, ‘Take all this out of here and stop using my Father’s house as a market.’
Today’s Gospel reading at Mass, of which I share a part here, is well-known, but it has much to tell us. In the first place, we are invited to think about the Father’s house, the house of God. Jesus forcefully throws out people who are there only for their own profit, who turn the Temple into a market place, something it is not. In doing so, they defeat the purpose and focus of that building, the Lord God.
Today, the Father has many houses. The churches all over the world, where His Son is present in the tabernacle, are also His houses. The Church, with a capital ‘c’, is His house. And His people, the faithful who form Christ’s mystical body, are His dwelling place. Even those who do not believe, but who were created by God nonetheless, are home to Him.
What Jesus tells us about the Temple, that it is not a market place, goes for the modern houses of the Father as well. We do not need to fill our churches, the Church, ourselves and our neighbours with all kinds of distractions that have their place outside. God already fills those places, and when we realise that He does, we are urged to take care of them, as they are home to the holiest of holiest.
Let’s not hide God behind distractions; be they choirs standing in front of the tabernacle, cold rules and regulations, or worldly concerns. Give God time and space in His house, and make sure the house is fit for Him.
Art credit: ‘Jesus chasing the merchants from the Temple,’ by Raymond Balze