In the Gospel today, what occurs to me is a matter of
the heart. In the temple Jesus encounters "those who sold oxen,
sheep, and doves," and the "money-changers." He is
outraged at this sight and drives these people away with a whip!
Jesus throwing down is a sight I would like to see! Of course, his
outrage is a righteous anger, because these people set up a marketplace
in God's house. They devalued the temple worship in an attempt to
take advantage of those who really did love God in worship. I think
this is a matter of the heart because sometimes we, like the "money-changers",
also misuse our hearts, a temple for God, by placing our sin over
Jesus had come to the temple because the Passover was near, and
I'm reminded that the Passover was a thanksgiving meal, sacrificing
a lamb in celebration of the Hebrews' exodus from Egypt. At the
crucifixion, Jesus became the Lamb of God, offering himself in the
new Passover, the Eucharist. It is through this most holy sacrament
that we are changed. More than a mere symbol, we receive something
substantial, a mysterious gift of Christ's flesh and blood. Through
it we are made holy, and our hearts become like a temple for God.
Many times in my own life I have forgotten this profound truth and
I have set up tables in my heart for sin. Instead of going to the
temple to worship, I lingered outside and made a marketplace for
my own wrongful desires. Sometimes it is greed, like the "money-changers",
that keeps me from God, because I knew I would have to sacrifice
the things that I want at the temple gate. Other times it is doubt
that keeps me away, as if I could do better for myself without God.
But most of the time, it is fear that keeps from sacrificing everything
and entering the temple to be with God. A fear that when I enter
I will finally have to give my life, and therefore control of my
life, to God. I don't know about you, but control has never been
something I've been willing to surrender.
I think the challenge in the Gospel today is to continue surrendering,
or maybe for the first time, surrender our lives to God. It is through
this holy surrender that we allow ourselves to really be loved by
God, and enter into deeper and deeper conversion. When we do so,
we allow Christ to storm into us, overturning the tables of our
hearts, and create in us a holy temple for God.