Then Jesus entered the temple and drove out all who were selling and buying in the temple, and he overturned the tables of the money changers and the seats of those who sold doves. He said to them, “It is written,
‘My house shall be called a house of prayer’;
but you are making it a den of robbers.”
The blind and the lame came to him in the temple, and he cured them. But when the chief priests and the scribes saw the amazing things that he did, and heard the children crying out in the temple, “Hosanna to the Son of David,” they became angry and said to him, “Do you hear what these are saying?” Jesus said to them, “Yes; have you never read,
‘Out of the mouths of infants and nursing babies
you have prepared praise for yourself’?”
He left them, went out of the city to Bethany, and spent the night there. In the morning, when he returned to the city, he was hungry. And seeing a fig tree by the side of the road, he went to it and found nothing at all on it but leaves. Then he said to it, “May no fruit ever come from you again!” And the fig tree withered at once. When the disciples saw it, they were amazed, saying, “How did the fig tree wither at once?” Jesus answered them, “Truly I tell you, if you have faith and do not doubt, not only will you do what has been done to the fig tree, but even if you say to this mountain, ‘Be lifted up and thrown into the sea,’ it will be done. Whatever you ask for in prayer with faith, you will receive.” Matthew 21:12-22
Today is the feast day of Cornelius Hill. "Holy Women, Holy Men" write the following about him. "Born in 1834, Cornelius Hill was the ﬁrst great Oneida chief to be born in Wisconsin, after the United States government had forced the Oneida peoples west from New York State.
As a young man, Hill spent several years at Nashotah House, where the Episcopal priests educated him and formed him in the faith, worship, and tradition of the Church. Hill was greatly respected among his people for his intelligence, courage, and ability to lead, and by his teenage years, he had already been made an Oneida chief, named Onan-gwat-go, or “Big Medicine. When land allotment became a legal reality under the Dawes General Act of 1893, Hill turned to the Church, and in 1895 he was ordained an Episcopal deacon. In 1903 he became the ﬁrst Oneida to be ordained a priest. At the ordination, he repeated his vows in the Oneida language." Cornelius Hill understood that his land and people were holy and worked throughout his life to retain their dignity and way of life - to keep their place and his people, a House of Prayer.
Jesus encounters the abuse of the Temple, turning a Holy place into a market place. He was revolted by the practices of buying and selling religion. He taught his disciples that faith brought about great deeds and that cheapening faith trough the buying and selling of people, land and property was not holy business. God invites us to make our business prayer, faith and service.
Today, in honor of the witness of Father Cornelius Hill, I ask God to help me recommit my life to a life of prayer and service. May we all live lives of faith, and may our words and actions serve to bless the people with hope and renewed faith.