Thoughts To Live By…

Jn 12:20-33 – Sunday Gospel Reflection

Posted on: March 14, 2009

Cleansing the Temple by Carl Bloch

Jn 12:20-33 – Cleansing of the Temple
Third Sunday of Lent

The Temple played an important part in the life of Israel fundamentally because the Temple was considered God’s own house, His dwelling place on earth in the midst of his people. The Jews  believed that God lives in heaven, but he hears the prayers that are addressed to him in the Temple. The prophets, however, realized that God’s presence among his people was a favor that could be withdrawn if they proved unworthy of it.

Like the prophets before him Jesus expressed the deepest respect for the temple of Jerusalem not only because it was dwelling place of God on earth but most importantly it  is His Father’s house. It is not surprising,  therefore, to hear, in today’s Gospel, why Jesus burst with anger  upon learning that traders and money changers were turning the house of God into a “marketplace” or “den of robbers.” Worst, they had the guts to oppress and exploit the poor and the pilgrims even within the temple. Although it was considered the “outer part” of the temple it was still within the temple.

What is the message for us? What is the challenge for us?

First, a temple or a church buiding is sacred because it is God’s dwelling place here on earth. It is also considered sacred because it is dedicated and offered to God. It is also sacred because it is intended for the glorification of God and sanctification of His people. Hence, a temple of the Church as a place of worship and sacrifice must be treated with reverence and respect. As far as possible it must not be used for any secular purposes which are considered offensive to the Lord. Indecent clothing and foul words and irreverent gestures must be avoided at all times.

Second, a temple is the body of Jesus Christ. In today’s Gospel, it was Lord himself who explicitly referred to his body as the temple of God. Since it is the Church which is the mystical body of Christ, the Church or the community of Lord’s disciples is the temple of God. As Jesus himself said, “Where two or three are gathered in my name, there I am in their midst.”

Considering this we can somehow say that prayer is effective when it is done in the name of Jesus and addressed by the whole assembly of the faithful. When you pray, therefore, pray in the name of Jesus in the Spirit. Pray as a Church. Pray in the Church. Pray with the Church. Pray for the Church. Pray with heart and mind of the Church. Always take an active part  in sacramental and liturgical life of the Church.

Third, our body is also a temple of God, a dwelling place of the Spirit. Like the temple or church building it must be treated with respect and reverence. Anything that defiles the body must be avoided. In the first letter of St. Paul to the Corinthians, he said: “Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy that person; for the temple of God, which you are, is holy,” (1Cor 3:16-17).

Today as gather as a worshiping assembly, let us always be reminded that the Church, the mystical body of Jesus Christ, is the Temple of God. Please be reminded also that we are temple of the Holy Spirit. Being members of this Church by virtue of our baptism we share in her vocation to holiness  and in her mission to work for the glorification of God and sanctification of His people. Let us, therefore, cleansed ourselves of all impurities, infidelities and immoralities so that we may able to offer our body as holy, living and acceptable sacrifice to God the Father and consequently help in the building and spreading the Church, which is the seed and the beginning of the Kingdom of God here on earth.

Picture: http://picturesofjesus4you.com/259.html

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