Monday, March 30, 2015

Holy Week Reflections, Part II: The Cleansing Of The Temple

There will be no Ten (or Observations) at all this week. Instead, I'll be doing a reflection on an event that corresponds to each day of Holy Week, all the way through Easter Sunday itself. It is a purification of sorts; to remind oneself that it isn't always about this world and this life. Politics, sports, and culture are all important, but in the end, we aren't taking any of those things beyond. The Ten will resume on Monday, April 4. -- J.L.

When Jesus entered Jerusalem to shouts of "Hosanna!" one would have guessed that the Temple authorities (chief priests, the scribes, and so forth) would not be pleased with such a display. They always tended to fear any kind of "popular" movement because it could very well upset the existing power structure that depended upon Roman cooperation.

The next day, Jesus kicked it up a notch by overturning the tables of the money-changers and "cleansing" the Temple of its "marketplace" feel, reminding us of the purpose of the Temple:
“It is written: ‘my House shall be called a house of prayer for all nations, but you have made it a den of thieves’”
This did much to solidify the conspiracy against Jesus, since he had struck at the heart of a corrupt system that was predicated on kickbacks and mutual back-scratching to the detriment of worshipping the Lord.

While we haven’t experienced as many dramatic scenes in our lives, no doubt we are all guilty at some point of placing something higher than God in our lives. It may be subtle or very upfront, but there is always a point in which we, as temples dedicated to God, need to be cleansed as well. The recognition that we are sinners in need of a Savior can be a tough pill to swallow, but a necessary bit of medicine.

God always needs to be the first priority in our lives. As tempting as it may be to shove him aside and place him in a closet to be taken out once a week like a suit, we need to be mindful of the fact that, for all the things we do, we need to ensure his place within us. We need to make of ourselves that "house of prayer" rather than turning it into the "den of thieves" as the result of our sin and neglect of the most important things in our existence.

Ascribe to the LORD, you heavenly beings, ascribe to the LORD glory and strength. Ascribe to the LORD the glory due his name; worship the LORD in the splendor of his holiness (Psalm 29:1-2).

Kyrie Eleison.

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