John chapter 2, verse 13
To the ancient Jew, the Temple of Jerusalem was God’s presence on earth. Synagogues in every city and town were meeting places for prayer, instruction and discussion, but only in the Temple of Jerusalem was the Divine presence assured. Only in the Temple could sacrifice be offered. Its re-building after the exile was the fulfillment of a people’s dream. Even today, no place is more sacred to the orthodox Jew than the ruins of the Temple walls.
Jesus entered this holy place and became very angry. The Temple precincts were being profaned. He behaved as though He Himself were God! No wonder that His authority was questioned. But as was the case of His power over illness and physical deformity, or of His command of the seas, His authority to clear and cleanse the Temple would only be understood in the light of His resurrection.
As with the nature of His authority, so to with the deeper significance of His specific actions that day in Jerusalem. What He said and did would be understood only in retrospect. After He had risen, the disciples would see, in the person of Jesus, the new presence of God among them, the new Temple…God, present no longer in a place but in a person…in Jesus, the Temple apparently destroyed on the cross only to rise up again on the third day.
Through Church and sacrament, Jesus now shares His life with us. We are one with Him. We are, through Him, with Him and in Him the New Temple, God’s presence.
As God looks upon His Temple today, does it need cleansing? Is its nature and purpose once more obscured by greed, envy, lust, pride, hypocrisy, injustice?
The cleansing of today’s Temple, the cleansing of each of us, the cleansing of the living Temple of which only the cornerstone, Jesus, is without blemish, is a cleansing in which we must humbly and prayerfully participate…let the first step be a good and sincere Confession.