St. Cecilia, Virgin Martyr
I Maccabees 4:36-37,52-59 + Luke 19:45-48
November 22, 2019
And every day He was teaching in the temple area.
Lots of people in Jesus’ day were fed up with the materialism and commercialism that had crept into the practices of the Temple in Jerusalem. This place, the Temple, was the holiest place in the entire world for Jews. One of the obligations of a good Jew in the time of Jesus was to go to Jerusalem at the time of Passover, and offer a sacrifice in the Temple: those who were wealthy offered an entire ox or sheep; those with less means offered turtledoves. And so there grew up a very large market during the time around Passover, a system within which many abuses developed. Jesus undoubtedly had many people cheering for Him as He told off the Jewish officials and the money-makers in the Temple.
But how many people cheered for Him on that occasion when the Jews asked for a sign from Jesus, and He replied, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up”? Probably some were baffled. Likely, some became angry at Jesus: here He had purified the Temple, and now He wanted to destroy it? The Scriptures go on to tell us that Jesus’ own disciples only came to understand His words after His Resurrection, so we only imagine what those who did not know Jesus well thought of these words. For ourselves, Christ is the Temple, of which we are parts through the Church. We need to purify ourselves as Jesus cleansed the Temple, so that we might offer right sacrifice there.