Daily Reflection
From a Creighton Student's Perspective

of Creighton University's Online Ministries

November 21st, 2008

Kate Macan

Senior, Theology/Spanish double major, Justice and Peace Studies minor

Rv 10:8-11
Ps 119:14, 24, 72, 103, 111, 131
Lk 19:45-48

“It is written, My house shall be a house of prayer, but you have made it a den of thieves.” Luke 19:46

This gospel incident, which appears in all three synoptic Gospels, Matthew, Mark and Luke is by far one of the most memorable moments in Jesus’ later ministry. John presents another version of the cleansing of the temple, except it happens much earlier in Jesus’ ministry. In the Gospels of Matthew and Mark, Jesus is even somewhat violent, as he overturns the tables of the moneychangers and the seats of those who were selling doves (Mark 11:15; Matthew 21:12). As you have read in Luke’s account, Jesus does not do such things during the cleansing of the temple. If we were strictly approaching this incident using Biblical scholarship, one would need to beg the question why such differences occur in the various accounts. However, since we are focusing on different elements, I think the better question to ask is: Why does this occurrence in Jesus’ ministry appear in all three synoptic gospels and even in John’s Gospel (except in a different manner)? I think there is great significance to the answer to this question.

The main evil Jesus is objecting to is the corruption of the sacred. Although he is speaking about the corruption of a physical place, in this case the temple, I think he is also speaking about the corruption of spirits and the ways in which the minds and hearts of the people have started to serve a different god: the god of money and greed. Even though the business transactions that were occurring some may consider to have been just and economically sound, the moneychangers and company were likely taking advantage of the poor and those in desperate situations. The theft that was occurring was the robbery of the spirit.

In this day and age, I think it is important to consider how we are making our temples: our bodies and our relationships into dens of thieves instead of places that are holy ground. For if we believe that God dwells within us and within in all of humanity, then we are in the presence of our Creator’s dwelling is constantly. With that in mind, I then ask, are we making God’s residence a house of prayer or a den of thieves? How do we act to make God’s house beautiful and a place of joy? And what do we do to defame and destroy the Maker’s property?

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