Verse Before the Gospel Jn 3:16

God so loved the world that he gave his only Son,
so that everyone who believes in him might have eternal life.

Gospel Jn 2:13-25

Since the Passover of the Jews was near,
Jesus went up to Jerusalem.
He found in the temple area those who sold oxen, sheep, and doves,
as well as the money changers seated there.
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,
and to those who sold doves he said,
“Take these out of here,
and stop making my Father’s house a marketplace.”
His disciples recalled the words of Scripture,
Zeal for your house will consume me.
At this the Jews answered and said to him,
“What sign can you show us for doing this?”
Jesus answered and said to them,
“Destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it up.”
The Jews said,
“This temple has been under construction for forty-six years,
and you will raise it up in three days?”
But he was speaking about the temple of his body.
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.

While he was in Jerusalem for the feast of Passover,
many began to believe in his name
when they saw the signs he was doing.
But Jesus would not trust himself to them because he knew them all,
and did not need anyone to testify about human nature.
He himself understood it well.

**

 THE CLEANSING OF THE TEMPLE

by Father Robert Barron

The Temple in Jerusalem was everything for ancient Jews. The Temple was the religious center of the nation, as well as the political and cultural capital. To get some idea of its importance, we would have to think of the Vatican, the United Nations, and the Sorbonne. For the Biblical Jews, the Temple was more than a religious meeting place; it was God’s house, the place where God made his dwelling on earth, the tabernacle of Yahweh.

So what did it mean for a provincial prophet to come into the holy city of Jerusalem and make a ruckus in the Temple? Well, you can surely imagine. What if someone burst into St. Peter’s Basilica and began shouting and turning things over and announcing judgment? It would be shocking and embarrassing beyond words.

To make matters worse, Jesus says something that is as shocking as his actions. When they ask him to justify what he has done, he says, “I will destroy this Temple and in three days rebuild it.” He says he will destroy the most sacred symbol imaginable.

So what was he doing and why? First, in showing his lordship over even this most sacred symbol, he was announcing who he was – God. Second, he was instituting a new Temple – the temple of his own body. The authentic dwelling place of God, the sanctuary that replaces the corrupt sanctuaries of religion is the temple of his crucified and risen body. Jesus himself is the place where God dwells, and we, in the measure that we are grafted on to him, are temples of the Holy Spirit.

Today the Church is the sacred Temple of Christ’s body. It is most itself when it gathers to pray as his body and around his body and blood.

Does this mean that the Church, in its institutional dimension, is beyond criticism? Obviously not. Sometimes we need the Lord to come into the Temple and clean it out.

Does it mean that, individually, we are clean and pure? No, and this Lent we might invite Jesus in for a little spring-cleaning. What in our “Temple” needs to be purified? How have we allowed the moneychangers to invade the sacred space? What would arouse the anger of Jesus if he toured around inside our house?

**

See also the Pope’s homily

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