Cleansing the Temple

A two voice reflection based on John 2:13-22, the Gospel for this Sunday (Lent 3, Yr B):

  • Voice 1 – A person reflecting on Jesus entering the temple in Jerusalem
  • Voice 2 – A person reflecting on Jesus entering the temple that is our bodies

When Jesus entered the temple in Jerusalem, what did he find?

A space full of noise, busy-ness and confusion?
Money lenders and tradesmen – taking advantage of a forced currency to gain for themselves?
and the cattle, sheep and doves – lives destined only to be sacrificed to atone for human sin?
All respect and tolerance lost for those who wish the temple to be their oasis of prayer?

When Jesus enters the temple that is my body, what does he find?

A space full of noise, busy-ness and confusion?
The plots in our minds where we exploit others to our own benefit?
Or perhaps, putting other’s desires and needs first to our own great cost?
Our gifts and skills used, perhaps with misguided direction.
A lack of respect and tolerance for those with a different focus in their lives?
So much I try to hide behind those tall exterior walls I’ve built.

I see Jesus angry – the whip of cords flailing, the damage intended.

Traders livelihoods upset – earnings instead left scattered on consecrated ground –
the coins, perhaps, an unintended offering, atonement for inflated prices.
Animals driven out to an unknown new enclosure –
their futures uncertain in the hands of new owners.

I see Jesus challenging me, his words and actions pushing me to change.

His spring clean of all I keep hidden within me –
getting rid of the clutter, distractions and misplaced priorities.
I question Jesus’ authority, but he carries on regardless –
He seeks not to destroy, but to renew and rebuild.

When Jesus rebuilt the temple in Jerusalem, a new space emerged.

A new oasis of prayer, welcoming to all –
whether man or woman, adult or child, rich or poor, master or servant;
A space for everyone, encouraging true service to God –
to renew and energise each soul, ready once more for the challenge of life.

When Jesus rebuilt the temple that is my body, a new space emerged.

Life’s easier now and I’ve nothing to hide –
Jesus has cleansed me and taught me new ways.
There’s space too for growth, to shine through new ventures –
a peace in my heart where my Lord now resides.