24 Nov 2017: Let us purify the temple


Memorial of Saint Andrew Dung-Lac, Priest, and Companions, Martyrs

Reading 1: 1 Mc 4:36-37, 52-59; Gospel: Lk 19:45-48

Construction, renovation and purification of the temple are constant themes in the Bible. In the book of Exodus we see God commanding the people through Moses to make the tent of making. The Lord Himself had chosen Bezalel and Oholiab for this assignment (Ex 35: 30 – 35) and they completed the work as assigned. We read that the cloud covered the tent of meeting and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle (Ex 40: 34). All the holy things contained in this tent were shifted to the magnificent temple built by Solomon after dedication (1 Kg 8: 1-21). As known, this temple was captured by king Nebuchadnezzar and all the treasures of the house of the Lord were carried away. But King Cyrus desired the renovation of the temple (Ezra 6:1-12). Hence, the temple was renovated and dedicated once again. Once again when the temple was profaned by the invaders, as we see in the first reading, Judas and his brothers purify, offer sacrifices and make it holy. The Gospel reading also presents a similar incident: Jesus went into the temple and began driving out people.

Jesus’ act was, indeed, very strong. He took courage to act against the authorities and all who were engaged in business in the temple area just because the ‘house of prayer’ lost its purpose. Jesus desired that the reverence of the temple be maintained. When the purpose of the temple was at stake he began acting against it.

St. Paul calls our bodies as the temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Cor 6:19). Do our bodies need a renovation or purification?

How do we know that? The renovation and the purification of the temple were done in history when the holiness or the purpose of the temple was lost. Likewise, we need purification when the holiness of our body is lost or when the purpose of the existence of our body is not met.

The question that follows is this: What is the purpose of our bodies? Our bodies are to be offered as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is a spiritual worship (Rom 12:1). If this purpose is not met, let us begin the process of purifying our bodies. If we do not attempt to do that, let us not be shocked when Jesus gets into action.

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