Today’s Gospel takes place immediately after Jesus enters Jerusalem for the last time. His cleansing of the temple area is the only time he uses physical force to send his message to the people present. Jesus went to Jerusalem knowing he would meet certain death on the cross but also victory 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.
Of all the places we frequent, the church, the house of God, is meant to be kept sacred. It is a place reserved for prayer, worship, and communion with God the Father through His Son Jesus Christ. It is not a place to consider and discuss our physical needs. It is reserved for our spiritual welfare.
In justification for his surprising action Jesus quotes from the prophets Isaiah (Is. 56:7) and Jeremiah (Jer. 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 in the temple regarded him with great awe and respect. Luke tells us that "the people hung upon Jesus' words."
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.
We are called to spend time with the Lord daily in prayer to thank Him for what He has done in our life, to praise and adore Him as our Lord, to petition Him for what we need to better imitate Him in the world, and to intercede to Him on behalf of others who need to be healed physically or spiritually. Since we can’t always be in a church building to pray, we should reserve a place in our homes to be kept sacred and remind us that the Lord truly dwells with us. The more we bring the sacred into our physical world, the more we are reminded that we are part of something bigger than this world. We are the Lord’s!
Today’s Question for Prayer and Reflection
Where is your personal sacred space that helps you spend time with God in prayer?