Time to Clean House!
Dr. Marcellino D'Ambrosio
Click here to listen to the PodCast by Dr. Marcellino D'Ambrosio!
When it started, all was fresh and new. An unnamed but mighty God freed a motley crew of slaves and offered them a new way of life in a new land. Most importantly, he offered them a privileged and exclusive relationship with Himself.
In the ancient world, most nations worshipped their own god and believed themselves to have a special claim on his favor. The Greeks had Zeus and the Canaanites, Ba’al, for instance. But this was different. This mysterious God called himself "I AM who I AM" and apparently tolerated no rivals. He had beaten the Egyptian gods on their own turf and appeared ready to take his new people into Ba’al’s territory. None of the other gods required any special behavior, just sacrificial worship. This new one required fidelity to a code of conduct that reached into every department of life, not just the religious. No area was off limits to the claims of this God – economics, family life, even sexuality. If Israel wanted this special relationship, they had to accept the stamp of his ownership on every aspect of their existence. That was the real meaning of the ten commandments, this Sunday’s first reading.
But what began with heartfelt zeal ultimately became ritual routine. The code of the covenant had called for animal sacrifices and a special place to carry them out. The devotion of David desired a fitting place for God’s house. The resourcefulness of his shrewd son Solomon made the dream a reality. After the Babylonians destroyed it, it was rebuilt in tears, a shadow of its former self. Then a powerful king came along who saw an opportunity to make the temple once again the pride of God’s people. He rebuilt it in even greater glory. But it was more a monument to himself than to God. After all, he cared little for God, and was not even himself a full-blooded Jew. He was rather a cold-blooded murderer whose name will forever live in infamy–Herod the Great.
How about the religious leaders of Herod’s day? Religion had become for them a business. Animals were needed for sacrifice, so they were sold in the temple precincts. Hebrew shekels were needed for the payment of the temple tax, so moneychangers were conveniently available so people could exchange their Roman money for the appropriate Jewish coinage.
The prophet Malachi (3:1-5) had predicted that the Lord would suddenly come to his temple to deal with such things. And Zechariah (14:21) had foretold that on the day of the Lord, there would no longer be any merchant in the temple precincts.
So when Jesus overturned the moneychangers’s tables, he was fulfilling Scripture and making clear that the messianic time of fulfilment was at hand. No more business as usual. No more ho-hum approach to religion. It was now time for living faith, not just religious belief. Zeal for God’s house consumed him, and he had come to light the fire of zeal in us as well.
Lent provides for us an opportunity for a gut-check Has our religion become cold routine, a mere collection of intellectual convictions and external rituals as with the scribes and Pharisees? Is our piety more a monument to ourselves than to God as in the case of Herod? Is Christ crucified for us the power and the wisdom of God, or just a plaster figure hanging on the wall?
The story of Jesus and the moneychangers comes at the beginning of the Gospel of John. From the very outset of his public ministry, Jesus predicted his death and resurrection to his uncomprehending audience. It would be his self-sacrifice that would ultimately lead to a new beginning. And to prepare for that event, he cleaned house.
As we prepare for the celebration of the mystery of redemption, it is time for us too to clean house and to honor his self-sacrifice with authentic sacrifices of our own.
For Spanish - Click Here!
This was originally publishished in Our Sunday Visitor as a reflection upon the readings for the 3rd Sunday in Lent, liturgical cycle B (Exodus 20:1-17; Psalm 19; I Corinthians 1:22-25; John2: 13-25). It is reproduced here with the permission of the author.
Follow Us -
Join us on Facebook
Join us on Twitter
To download and print The Cleansing of the Temple - Click here!
For more Catholic resources to feed your faith, visit the Crossroads Initiative Homepage.
To sign up for our free weekly e-mail with Dr. D'Ambrosio's commentary on the Sunday readings, liturgical feasts, updates on where Dr. D will be speaking, a chance to WIN a FREE CD and MORE, CLICK HERE!
Riveting Lenten Inspiration
Want to know the very best Lenten devotion available?
Then get this Roman Missal and be sure to follow the Mass Readings daily during Lent. The Church has put together for us an awesome study from Old and New Testament on the key Lenten themes of repentance, prayer, fasting, and almsgiving.
This single volume is the complete source of the Bible passages and prayers that form the rich tapestry of our Mass.
The Daily Roman Missal presents the liturgical year's worth of Sacred Scripture, allowing the faithful to follow and delve further into the Church's holy celebration.
This new edition is updated with the guidelines of the Bishop's Committee on the Liturgy. It also features the new English translation of the daily and Sunday readings from the Revised New American Bible.
Retail Price - $89.95
Handbook of Indulgences - Norms and Grants
This is the revised edition of the ENCHIRIDION OF INDULGENCES and the official English translation of the Church’s book on indulgences and includes a list of the works and prayers to which indulgences are attached.
Eucharist for Little Children - DVD
Children will understand the real presence of our Lord in the Eucharist. They will encounter Christ in the soleminty of the mass, the quiet adoration and the splendor of a Corpus Christi Procession. Also, experience Christ through the traditional beauty of the Church and inspiring music.
SUGAR FREE - Winrgy®
Winrgy is an invigorating, citrus-flavored energy and mental performance drink loaded with vitamins, minerals and amino acids that will help you stay energized and focused — so you can work, play and perform at your best.
This Winrgy includes Food for Thought right in the mix!
Grace Cafe - Serving Up Recipes for Faithful MotheringEver wish you had a cookbook for life as a Catholic wife and mother … a step-by-step guide for various “domestic church situations? Your prayers are answered. The recipe theme may be lighthearted, fun even, but there’s real nourishment to be had in this wonderful dish too. Inspiriting entrees — practical ways Catholic women can live out their familial vocation — are seasoned with simple suggestions for answering Christ’s universal call to holiness.