Posted by: livingscripture | March 8, 2015

Third Sunday of Lent

From the Word of the Day

“Jesus answered and said to them, ‘Destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it up’.  But he was speaking of 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”.   

 (John 2: 20-22)   

 Tissot-Signature-cropped-428[1]How should we live this Word

The provocative gesture done by Jesus and described very vividly by John in today’s Gospel, is meant to contest the religious mercenary plan that was at the basis of the long popular tradition that had reduced His Father’s house, the Temple of Jerusalem, to a market place.  Jesus announces a radical change that definitively goes beyond this merchant mentality, although it endures even today among many Christians.

The disciples understood the real meaning of Jesus’ gesture only after the Resurrection as John notes.  The temple of the divine dwelling among humans is now identified with the body of the Risen one.  He was, in His person, the true temple of God.  This is why the episode is located by the Evangelist near the Paschal feast.  The true temple of God is no longer a material place where salvation could be bought, but the theological place of the very Person of the Savior who gratuitously gives salvation to all who believe in Him.  It deals with a radical change of perspective that does not totally abolish the temple, but brings it to completion in its highest meaning according to the divine plan in the history of salvation centered on the Risen Christ.The provocative gesture done by Jesus and described very vividly by John in today’s Gospel, is meant to contest the religious mercenary plan that was at the basis of the long popular tradition that had reduced His Father’s house, the Temple of Jerusalem, to a market place.  Jesus announces a radical change that definitively goes beyond this merchant mentality, although it endures even today among many Christians.

The ancient sacred idea of the temple is no longer shared either by the primitive Church or the ancient Fathers.  In his first letter, Peter the Apostle asserts that every Christian is a living and holy stone that contributes to the building of the spiritual temple that is the Christian community.  The Church temple refers to the Church Community, Christ’s Mystical Body, and to each of us, the living temple of the Spirit.

In my pause for silent contemplation, I will reflect on this scene and on Jesus’ words, taking to heart that I am part of His risen Body, part of His Body that is the Church.

Lord God, holy is Your name.  bend my heart to Your commandments and give me hope in the Cross so that freed from sin, from closure in my ego, I may open myself to the gift of the Spirit to become the living temple of Your love.

The Voice of St. Ignatius of Antioch

 The Spirit announced to me, “Guard your body as the temple of God.  Love unity; avoid divisions.’

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