+ Come Holy Spirit, come cleanse our hearts. Jn 2:13-25
Since the Passover of the Jews was near,
Jesus went up to Jerusalem.
He found in the temple area those who sold oxen, sheep, and doves,
as well as the money changers seated there.
He made a whip out of cords
and drove them all out of the temple area, with the sheep and oxen,
and spilled the coins of the money changers
and overturned their tables,
and to those who sold doves he said,
"Take these out of here,
and stop making my Father's house a marketplace."
His disciples recalled the words of Scripture,
Zeal for your house will consume me.
At this the Jews answered and said to him,
"What sign can you show us for doing this?"
Jesus answered and said to them,
"Destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it up."
The Jews said,
"This temple has been under construction for forty-six years,
and you will raise it up in three days?"
But he was speaking about the temple of his body.
Therefore, when he was raised from the dead,
his disciples remembered that he had said this,
and they came to believe the Scripture
and the word Jesus had spoken.
While he was in Jerusalem for the feast of Passover,
many began to believe in his name
when they saw the signs he was doing.
But Jesus would not trust himself to them because he knew them all,
and did not need anyone to testify about human nature.
He himself understood it well.
What have we been working on this Lent, did we choose something to grow in prayer, something to give up by fasting, and something to give to others through almsgiving? How is it going so far? Has growing in prayer and virtue been difficult? Many of the Gospel readings in the daily cycle of Lenten readings have also been "difficult", calling us to a higher level of virtue, holiness, love. That our righteousness should surpass that of the scribes and pharisees, to be merciful as our Father is merciful, love your enemies, be perfect as your Father is perfect, etc. Our difficulty in growing in virtue, and in fulfilling Jesus' counsel, exposes the weaknesses of our hearts.
Here today Jesus walks into the temple and finds disorder, things that have taken over the purpose of His Father's house, a place of His dwelling with His people, where they could worship Him and pray. Imagine yourself as one praying in the temple, or one of those selling doves, what is your reaction to Jesus overturning the tables? Had you gotten used to praying with the chaos in the back? Are you angry at Him for disrupting your business, does His correction pierce your heart?
Jesus this Lent has been exposing the disorder of our hearts and correcting us by our penance, by His word, and through events in our life. How do we respond to seeing our weakness? How do we respond to His corrections? As Jesus was stripped of His garments before being nailed to the cross, do we allow our hearts to be stripped, rent? Do we believe and see His goodness, desiring to cleanse our hearts, purifying the temple of His Father, that we might live in communion with Him? As we see our weakness, have we gotten so used to it, that we no longer desire or believe that He will come and overturn it?