Temple: a Consecrated Space
Today’s first and third readings speak about rules, sacred buildings and rituals which ‘are meant to bring us into the awareness of the divine presence in us and in all of those around us.’1 ‘The gospel isn’t about what is present in the temple but is about Jesus’ deep concern with what is missing.’2 ‘The gospel tells us what the temple had become: totally aligned with the king, the collecting of taxes and monies and the selling of forgiveness. Jesus takes a revolutionary approach to religion: from an emphasis on sacrifice by which we earn God’s love, to trust through which we know God’s love. And that trust happens in the human heart. Jesus is redefining ‘the temple’. He speaks of the temple of his body. The temple is transferred from any kind of physical building to the human person. Years later, Jesus’ words will echo in Paul’s first letter to the church at Corinth. “Do you not know,” the apostle will ask them—and us—“that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you?”3
‘The temple was the centre of Jewish life. It is what structured their community. It gave identity and meaning. We all have temples: things that we think give structure and order to our lives, provide security and stability. At least we think they do, until they fall.’2 We will only find new strength in our growing awareness of our divine identity, in our growing awareness that God is within us, that we are temples of God.
In a building that is not a building but the dusty halls of my spirit,
in a heart that is not just a heart but an intended-to-be-holy temple,
there are sheep and there are cattle that are not sheep and cattle
but the worries and concerns and the sorrows of life,
and there are dulled coins and doves that are not coins and doves
but the tarnished hopes and dreams of an aging mind,
and they clutter and crowd the courtyard,
cloud the air with their smells and voices,
their noises of stress and hunger overpowering the words of prayer.
Lord, come into the spaces of this yearning-to-be-holy temple,
cleanse this heart of distractions, help me clear the clutter, the noises.
Make it more of a place of listening, open to the mystery of your presence.4
Adapted:  Brian McLaren  Michael Marsh  Richard Rohr  Andrew King
Gospel: John (2:13-25)
The Passover of the Jews was near, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. In the temple he found people selling cattle, sheep, and doves, and the money changers seated at their tables. Making a whip of cords, he drove all of them out of the temple, both the sheep and the cattle. He also poured out the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables. He told those who were selling the doves, “Take these things out of here! Stop making my Father’s house a marketplace!” His disciples remembered that it was written, “Zeal for your house will consume me.”
The Jews then said to him, “What sign can you show us for doing this?” Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” The Jews then said, “This temple has been under construction for forty-six years, and will you raise it up in three days?” But he was speaking of the temple of his body. After he was raised from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this; and they believed the scripture and the word that Jesus had spoken.
When he was in Jerusalem during the Passover festival, many believed in his name because they saw the signs that he was doing. But Jesus on his part would not entrust himself to them, because he knew all people and needed no one to testify about anyone; for he himself knew what was in everyone.