November 9, 2008, Year A
Reflection on the Readings
Theme: My Father's House
The cleansing of the Temple points to the cleansing of the soul.
A majesty and care for the soul fills today's readings. "You are the temple of God and God's Spirit dwells in you", say's St. Paul.
Ezekiel exudes with the language and abundance of Eden, that original home of Adam and Eve. Wherever the river flows, the prophet proclaims life and that more abundantly bursts forth. It is invigorating, this river which gladdens the city of God; another reference to God's dwelling.
Then Jesus addresses the irreverent activity at the Temple. Jesus is repulsed. Describing the Temple as "My Father's house," Jesus demonstrates is union with and love for His Father. Jesus decries the money changers and their profiteering declaring, "Take these things away; You shall not make my Father's house a house of trade." Thus the outrage Jesus has for those who would make the house of prayer a den of thieves.
Later, when Jesus hangs from a cruel cross, the disciples will recall that it is written, "Zeal for your house will consume me."
About 70 AD, history records the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem. The Temple was temporal because the blood of pigeons, sheep and oxen could never take away sin. It would be the blood of the Lamb of God, the perfect sacrifice which would endure forever. Therefore when Jesus was raised from the dead, his disciples remembered he had said this.
In the incarnation, Jesus restores prayer, communion with God. This reconciliation comes to us to make each of us temples of the Holy Spirit. We are now the House of the Father, a House of prayer. In us the energies of the Holy Spirit permeate the soul animating our thoughts, words and deeds.
The life of God makes us alive to the ways and will of our Father. The expulsion from the Garden of Eden and thus from God, is now undone by the coming of Jesus. Jesus says, "I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in me, and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing."
This reconciliation is so powerful that we become our true selves, the house of our heavenly Father. In him is life and the life is the light of men. It is this that distinguishes us from the world. This life cannot be hidden. But those hidden with Christ in God will participate in the abundant life and bear witness to that life to all who will hear.
It is the passion of the children of God to present themselves as living sacrifices, holy, acceptable unto God, a worthy expression of worship. (Romans 12:1) This wholeness of life is the result of becoming a House of the Father's love, a House of prayer.
If we are indeed the House of our Father we will do those things that please him. If we embrace the life that is from above, we will pursue the protection of the least among us. If the defenseless are to have their voices heard, it is our voice that will cry out in prayer for them.
If we are indeed the House of our Father we will pursue the wisdom that is from above. If we embrace the life that is gentle peaceable and full, we will decry harshness, bitterness and anything that destroys the image of God in us and others.
If we are indeed the House of our Father we will always pray to be filled with the Holy Spirit who pours into us the love of God. If we embrace the life of love, we will show the world that we are Christians by our love, for love never ends. Amen.
Let us pray: Dear Jesus, You came that I could know abundant life. Ever make me new in this life that is in you. Abide in me and you in me so that prayer without ceasing may ever arise in me. Amen.