The Gospel according to John (2:13-22)
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.
Opening Prayer: Lord, help me to have zeal for You, and a deeper desire to share Your love with all whom I meet. May I be Your hands, Your feet, and Your voice in the world. Amen.
Today, we remember the dedication of the Basilica of St John Lateran in Rome. Even though we think that St Peter’s Basilica is the Pope’s “home” church, it really isn’t. Instead, St John Lateran is the “home” church of the Bishop of Rome. I was blessed to visit it along with a group from our parish some years back, and it is an impressive place!
Today’s Gospel points to how special a place the House of God is. At Jesus’ time, the Jewish worshipers were expected to sacrifice animals as part of their worship, so there were those there who sold the animals to be used for that purpose. I’m sure it began as a service, to make sure that all could fully participate in worship. But, over time, those who sold were more interested in how much they made from the sales, and less interested in the reason why they were there in the first place. That brings us to today’s passage, where Jesus reminds them quite forcefully about what the real purpose of people being present really was.
That same lesson can apply to us, even if we don’t have to sacrifice live animals (and I’m very happy about that, I will definitely say). It comes down to what is in our hearts when we arrive for the celebration of Mass. Are we there out of obligation only (“we have to go to Mass every Sunday”)? Or, are we there, just to be seen (“if others see me, they will think I’m holy and it makes me feel better to know that”)? If either of those are the case, then we are missing the point.
We come to worship and to pray because we are acknowledging that it is God who gives us everything. He doesn’t demand our worship, but He longs for it. Can we not give an hour back to Him out of the 168 hours in a week, where we shut out the world and can just “be” in His presence? Can we be open to whatever He may wish to say to us through the words of the priest and of His Holy Word? Can we be vulnerable enough to say that we can do nothing on our own and to ask the God who created us to guide us?
If we do truly give that hour to the Lord, there is no doubt at all that we will be incredibly blessed for it. Let us ask for the grace to be able to be truly present at Mass this week, and then watch how God works through us as a result!
Closing Prayer: Jesus, I am so thankful that You are with me through all I do. May I be Your disciple fully today, and be available to You to use to share Your love and Your peace with someone today. Let me be at Your disposal, and know that You can do amazing things through me! Amen.
Action for the Day: Ponder the words of the Gospel today and ask how you can be an instrument of God in the world and in your own community today.