Saturday, August 11, 2018

Zeal For Your House

The Passover of the Jews was near, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. In the temple he found people selling cattle, sheep, and doves, and the money changers seated at their tables. Making a whip of cords, he drove all of them out of the temple, both the sheep and the cattle. He also poured out the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables. He told those who were selling the doves, “Take these things out of here! Stop making my Father’s house a marketplace!” His disciples remembered that it was written, “Zeal for your house will consume me.” The Jews then said to him, “What sign can you show us for doing this?” Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” The Jews then said, “This temple has been under construction for forty-six years, and will you raise it up in three days?” But he was speaking of the temple of his body. After he was raised from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this; and they believed the scripture and the word that Jesus had spoken.
When he was in Jerusalem during the Passover festival, many believed in his name because they saw the signs that he was doing. But Jesus on his part would not entrust himself to them, because he knew all people and needed no one to testify about anyone; for he himself knew what was in everyone. John 2:13-25 
Throughout my life I have experienced church fairs and markets, finding them mostly delightful. I often buy holiday gifts  there and get ideas for my own crafts. As a priest, I have supervised many a church fair, from flea markets, to strawberry festivals and everything in between. Fund raisers such as these are essential to keeping doors open in many places. I have often worried that we were focused on money too much, yet there was always honest enthusiasm for events such as these. 
Jesus cleanses the temple not because this is a church fair, but because folks were being kept away from the Temple, from God's sanctuary until they had the appropriate gift, sold to them at outrageous markups. This sanctuary was supposed to be a place where all people could pray, but the leadership were making money at the expense of poor travelers and foreigners. They were making personal gain on the backs of those who could least afford it. We are invited by God to examine our practices today to make sure we are keeping no one away from God's love.
Today, I ask God to help me make myself open to pilgrims and those on spiritual journeys. May we welcome the poorest and the most challenged as Jesus would have us to do.

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