The Temple of God was intended to be the dwelling place of God where all would come to worship him. Even after the Babylonian exile, it was a place of prayer where God listened to his people’s cries. God’s people longs for the day when the everlasting kingship of David be restored and established and when God would return to the temple in glory. Suddenly, both of these things came together when Christ – – God and King – – appears. He was announced by Gabriel to his mother, Mary, as the Son of the Most High, inheritor of the throne of David, reigning over a kingdom that will have no end. It is implied here that Mary, therefore, is Queen.
Essentially, this post is a reflection on John Chapter 2, Verses 13 – 25, which was the Gospel option on the Third week of Lent…
So, the Lord of Temple comes to it in Jerusalem and finds it occupied by the tables of the money changers with all the surrounding noise and distraction. This is God’s house and place of prayer. Every court and corridor, not excluding the “court of the Gentiles,” where the businessmen set up shop, was sacred. Not only was the Temple sacred because it was the house of God, it was all the more so because of who it pointed to. The Temple represented Christ Jesus who is himself God dwelling with man. He is both Lord of the Temple and the Temple: “destroy this Temple and I will rebuild it in three days.” And, additionally, he is the King of Israel. These are the reasons whereby he had the authority to overturn the tables and drive out the money changers.
The account of Jesus cleansing the Temple has a great spiritual meaning.
Christ is the Temple and we are all individually extensions of it.St. Paul points out that all those who have been baptized have become temples, dwelling places of the God who desires to dwell within us. Christ lives in us by the power of the Holy Spirit, and thus we are Temples of the Holy Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. So we must conduct ourselves with the awareness that we are Temples: every court and corridor, that is, every aspect of our lives, is sacred, with our hearts as the holy of holies where we go to be in his presence. However, like the physical temple of God at the time of Jesus, we are faced with distractions and noise in the form of anxiety, worry and undue concern for worldly and material things. The danger is that we can actually crowd God out to the point of making him unwelcome. So we constantly need Jesus to come and drive out all that is an obstacle to him. We need him to take away from us everything that restricts us from being Temples, places of prayer to the living God.
The Awareness of being Temples
We have to cultivate the awareness of being holy temples by spending time in prayer and communication with God within (of course this is not to the exclusion of praying in front of the Blessed Sacrament – – and after all, Jesus is in the Eucharist so that he can dwell within us). The more we take time for silent prayer at specific set moments, the more we will have the awareness of being Temples. Ask Jesus to come inside and dwell. Open the door, even just a crack and he will come and flood your soul. I know this from personal experience. Even if there is so much clutter preventing you from opening it, desire to open it to Jesus and he who has the ability to walk through walls will enter. He will make of us beautiful temples of God. These things I say to myself and to those who may read these words.
Our Lady, the mother of the Church, illustrates in herself what it means to truly be a temple of God. From the first moment of her conception she was a temple dedicated to God, more magnificent and splendid than what David and Solomon could even imagine. God was worshiped within her to such a degree that was totally unknown to have ever existed before. If we invite her into our hearts, she will adore him in and through us.
PS: I just read a brief reflection from a Poor Clare nun in which she pointed out the importance of Surrender, both of surrendering oneself to be the Temple of the Lord and surrendering each and every one of those obstacles that prevent us from being such…https://poorclaresc.com/2014/05/cleansing-our-temples-a-lenten-reflection/