Mary brought her infant Son Jesus to that Temple, and the Church celebrates the event every year on the feast called The Presentation (February 2nd). There also, as a twelve-year-old boy, Jesus engaged the Pharisees and Temple priests in precocious dialogue, demonstrating Wisdom beyond His years [Lk 2: 41-52]. At the start of His public life, right after His baptism, the devil took Our Lord from the desert to a parapet atop that Temple and used scripture to tempt Him. The Lord rebuked him with another scriptural passage, and the temptation failed flat out.
John the Evangelist describes Jesus unleashing the full force of his zeal when, the day before the Last Supper, He saw the temple priests and money changers in this holy place, desecrating it with crass, exploitive commercialism: He picked up a leather cord for a whip, lashed it at them, and capsized their money tables saying, "It is written, 'My house shall be called a house of prayer,' but you make it a den of thieves” (Mt 21:13). Luke’s version – our passage today (Lk 19:45-48) – adds: “The chief priests, the scribes, and the leaders of the people, meanwhile, were seeking to put him to death.” Some scholars make this event in the Temple the inciting incident of the Lord’s final hours.
Solomon’s Temple in Jerusalem was a particularly appropriate symbol for Our Lord’s claim, “He who see me, sees the Father.” He knew the Father dwelled in Him as He said, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up!” [Jn 2:19] St. Paul called us the Body of Christ from the time Our Lord said to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?” That question led Paul, in several of his letters, to call us God’s Temple:
As temples of God, we must remain fit and always become more holy. From time to time, we need to make changes in our lives – sometimes small, sometimes radical. It may be that all we need is the grace to be aware of the need for change, or we may need our tables overturned. We need not fear in either case, for Christ is committed to remain at our side to help us make whatever change of habit or heart that is needed.
It is well to remember that the effort itself is formative. That is what God is asking from us.
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