Deacon Prodencio Bognay reads from the Gospel of Luke (19: 45-48) in which Jesus, driving out market sellers at the temple, says ‘my house will be a house of prayer, but you have turned it into a robbers’ den’.
Prodencio says, as we move closer the end of the liturgical year, we hear more and more in our readings about the controversial issues in the clash between Jesus and the religious leaders in Jerusalem, particularly in the temple. In this context, this is used to indicate the need for the renewal of the Jerusalem temple, which is taken as the second coming of Christ.
For our reflection today Prodencio invites us to recognise the courage and determination of Jesus to clear the temple even amidst the threat of opposition. Jesus knew he would be condemned for his action but with courage and boldness he chose to stand up for what he believed. Just before this Gospel passage in the reading we heard yesterday, Jesus shed tears over Jerusalem because they failed to find peace, which God is offering. Prodencio notes, we can recognise from our reading today the kind of peace to which Jesus was referring.
Jesus found complete peace in obeying the will of his Father rather than retracting all his teachings just to avoid conflict. Jesus found complete peace knowing that he had dedicated himself fully into doing the will of his Father. He was fully aware of his actions and that his actions had been attracting opposition. He was moving towards chaos but his experience of peace, or his sense of peace, knowing he was doing the will of his Father, was not threatened even by persecution.
Each one of us has our own temple within: part of it might be clouded with worries and anxieties; part of it might be left occupied by our worldly affairs; part of it might be occupied by our anger and resentment.
As far as our relationship with God is concerned, Prodencio says we might ask ourselves today – ‘What is stopping us from clearing our temple within? What is preventing us from maintaining the beauty and sacredness of our temple within?’ He says, we might encounter some challenges in our attempt but, if we recognise the real peace that comes from taking bold steps in pursuing our spiritual longings, he wonders if any formal threat would actually be worthy of our attention.