The following reflection is courtesy of Don Schwager (c) 2015, whose website is located at DailyScripture.net
Why did Jesus drive out the money changers in the temple at Jerusalem? Was he upset with their greediness? This is the only incident in the Gospels where we see Jesus using physical force. Jesus went to Jerusalem, knowing he would meet certain death on the cross, but victory as well for our sake. His act of judgment in the temple is meant to be a prophetic sign and warning to the people that God takes our worship very seriously.
Jesus honors the Father’s house of prayer by cleansing it of unholy practices
In this incident we see Jesus’ startling and swift action in cleansing the temple of those who were using it to exploit the worshipers of God. The money changers took advantage of the poor and forced them to pay many times more than was right – in the house of God no less! Their robbery of the poor was not only dishonoring to God but unjust toward their neighbor.
The people were hungry for the word of God
In justification for his audacious action Jesus quotes from the prophets Isaiah (Isaiah 56:7) and Jeremiah (Jeremiah 7:11). His act of judgment aims to purify the worship of God’s people and to discipline their erring ways. Despite the objections of the religious leaders, no doubt because Jesus was usurping their authority in the house of God, the people who listened to Jesus teaching daily in the temple regarded him with great awe and respect. Luke tells us that “they hung upon Jesus’ words” (Luke 19:48). How hungry are you for God’s word?
The Lord wants to share his holiness with us
If we approach God’s word with a humble attentive heart and with a willingness to be taught by the Lord, then we are in a good place to allow God’s word to change and transform us in the likeness of Christ. The Lord wants to teach us his ways so that we may grow in holiness. The Lord both instructs and disciplines us in love to lead us from the error of our sinful ways to his truth and justice. “God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in his holiness” (Hebrews 12:10). The Lord calls us to be a holy people who worship him with reverence and gratitude for his great mercy and kindness towards us. Do you allow God’s word to transform you in his way of love and holiness?
“Lord Jesus, you open wide the door of your house and you bid us to enter confidently that we may worship you in spirit and truth. Help me to draw near to you with gratitude and joy for your great mercy. May I always revere your word and give you acceptable praise and worship.”
Jesus “entered the temple and began ejecting the traders.” —Luke 19:45
Jesus has made it clear that He wants His temple purified (see 1 Mc 4:36). Jesus commands us to be pure, even “as He is pure” (1 Jn 3:3). Jesus is purifying His Church “in the bath of water by the power of the word, to present to Himself a glorious church, holy and immaculate, without stain or wrinkle or anything of that sort” (Eph 5:26-27). “By obedience to the truth,” we can purify ourselves “for a genuine love” of our brothers and sisters (1 Pt 1:22). The Lord has promised us “a fountain to purify from sin and uncleanness” (Zec 13:1).
This fountain of purification is our Baptism into Jesus (Rm 6:3) in which we have stripped “off the carnal body completely” (Col 2:11). If we live our Baptism by being holy in every aspect of our conduct (1 Pt 1:15), we are pure. Even if we have defiled ourselves through sin after our Baptism, we can be purified by repentance, especially by accepting God’s mercy through the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Therefore, “since we have these promises, beloved, let us purify ourselves from every defilement of flesh and spirit, and in the fear of God strive to fulfill our consecration perfectly” (2 Cor 7:1).
Prayer: Father, may I want to be pure more than a person with cancer wants to be free of all cancerous cells. Promise: “All the people prostrated themselves and adored and praised Heaven, who had given them success.” —1 Mc 4:55 Praise: John found the best way to deal with a difficult person and situation was to frequent the Sacrament of Reconciliation.
Rescript: In accord with the Code of Canon Law, I hereby grant my permission to publish One Bread, One Body covering the period from October 1, 2015 through November 30, 2015.
†Most Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Auxiliary Bishop, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, April 20, 2015.
The rescript is a declaration that a book or pamphlet is considered to be free of doctrinal or moral error. It is not implied that those who have granted ecclesial permission agree with the contents, opinions, or statements