Jesus entered the temple area and proceeded to drive out those who were selling things, saying to them, “It is written, My house shall be a house of prayer, but you have made it a den of thieves” (Lk 19:45-46).
Luke’s account of Jesus casting out the money changers is the most succinct of all four Gospels. Luke uses the Greek term for “drive or cast out” – ekballō, eight other times. Each time he used it, Luke was making reference to exorcising demons and unclean spirits. The profanation of the body through possession of evil is equivalent to the desecration of the Temple precincts.
Jesus justified his actions by saying: “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up” (Jn 2:19). Jesus showed the dignity of our humanity, in that as the Son of God he entered our humanity. He entered into the chaos of our lives, our faults and foibles, or sin, while remaining sinless himself, and showed that even though we have turned away from God, we are not destroyed. He reminds us that what God has created is good and that includes us. Though we constantly turn away, he infinitely reaches out to us in love, and calls us home.
One of the wonderful features of holidays, is that families that are apart seek to come together. They return home. Some are not able to and reconnect by phone, email, or the other avenues of social media available to us now. But there are those, we may even experience this ourselves, whose family members are estranged, or who no longer have family. There are those suffering today that are homeless, displaced, refugees and immigrants, or living in fear of deportation. May we pray for them and be avenues of reconciliation where we can.
No matter who or where we are, Jesus is present. He became one with us to restore our communion with God and one another. He provides the living water that quenches the thirst of our deepest longings. That which will not be satisfied by even the greatest of deals available today on Black Friday.
Our temple today is not the Malls, even though the masses may be flocking there. Jesus, our temple, our new covenant, the dwelling place of God, is alive and present to each of us in every condition, situation, and place we find ourselves. And through his resurrection and ascension, and our participation in his life, he has made us temples of the indwelling of God the Holy Spirit. Through our baptism, we are incorporated into his mystical Body. All we need to do is say yes to his invitation.
May we allow Jesus to cast out, as he did in the temple precincts, all from our being that would defile us and keep us bound in sin. May the Holy Spirit reign in our hearts that we may embody and bear his love to all we meet so to be reconciled with God and one another. If you are braving the masses of those going to the stores today, or if you are already there, I invite you to periodically draw some deep breaths and invite Jesus to be present with you, so that you may be a bearer of his light. Be patient, kind, and loving with those you are rubbing elbows with. You are braver than I. I will be digging in to correct my student’s essays, do some pruning outside, and making some quiet time for prayer.