The Holy Gospel according to Mark (11:11-26)
Jesus entered Jerusalem and went into the temple area. He looked around at everything and, since it was already late, went out to Bethany with the Twelve.
The next day as they were leaving Bethany he was hungry. Seeing from a distance a fig tree in leaf, he went over to see if he could find anything on it. When he reached it he found nothing but leaves; it was not the time for figs. And he said to it in reply, “May no one ever eat of your fruit again!” And his disciples heard it.
They came to Jerusalem, and on entering the temple area he began to drive out those selling and buying there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the seats of those who were selling doves. He did not permit anyone to carry anything through the temple area. Then he taught them saying, “Is it not written: My house shall be called a house of prayer for all peoples? But you have made it a den of thieves.”
The chief priests and the scribes came to hear of it and were seeking a way to put him to death, yet they feared him because the whole crowd was astonished at his teaching. When evening came, they went out of the city.
Early in the morning, as they were walking along, they saw the fig tree withered to its roots. Peter remembered and said to him, “Rabbi, look! The fig tree that you cursed has withered.” Jesus said to them in reply, “Have faith in God. Amen, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be lifted up and thrown into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart but believes that what he says will happen, it shall be done for him. Therefore I tell you, all that you ask for in prayer, believe that you will receive it and it shall be yours. When you stand to pray, forgive anyone against whom you have a grievance, so that your heavenly Father may in turn forgive you your transgressions.”
Reflection: In today’s Gospel, we read about Jesus being hungry and angry, two very human feelings. We also read about Jesus cursing the fig tree and cleansing the temple, driving out the businessmen and money changers who had set up their tables in the temple. But I want to concentrate on one verse of this Gospel. “My house shall be called a house of prayer for all peoples.” The temple was a sacred space for people to come and pray. This sacred space was turned into a bustling marketplace, it’s no wonder that Jesus drove all the merchants away. When Jesus says, “all peoples” I think he means everybody, including you and me. He wants us to be able to come to a place to pray, seek the Lord and experience his love. This is why we go to church. Church is for all peoples, no matter what our situation in life may be or no matter where we are at. He invites and welcomes us sinners to his church. I think of how Pope Francis described Church as a field hospital for sinners, not a museum for saints. Do not think that you are too sinful, not worthy, or not holy enough. Church is a place where we come to be healed when we are wounded. Our Lord loves us anyway and wants us to come and meet him in his temple and temple of our hearts.
Action for the Day: Other than Sunday mass, go to your local parish during the next week and visit the Lord in his temple. Maybe go to a daily mass. Go to visit your Blessed Sacrament chapel to pray. If your parish has Adoration and Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament, go and spend some time with the Lord. As Jesus tells us, “My house shall be called a house of prayer for all peoples.”