Jesus entered the temple area and proceeded to drive out all 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 of driving the sellers out of the Temple precincts 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, our sins while remaining sinless himself. He 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 the upcoming holidays is that families seek to come together, to return home. Some are not able to and so reconnect by phone, email, or the other avenues of social media. But there are those, we may even experience this ourselves, who have recently lost someone to death, or are estranged, or who no longer have a 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 solidarity and 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. Jesus, our temple, our new covenant, the dwelling place of God, is alive and present to each one of us in every condition, situation, time, and the place we find ourselves. Through his resurrection, ascension, and our participation in his life, he has made us temples of the indwelling of God the Holy Spirit.
Jesus meets us where we are and loves us as we are, yet he wants more for us. Jesus, please cast out, as you did in the temple precincts, all from our being that would defile us and keep us bound in sin. Send the Holy Spirit to 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.