Cleaning the Temple of Our Hearts
Today’s readings from Holy Scripture teach us that Lent is the ideal time for cleaning out the Temple of our own hearts and to offer to God proper Divine worship by obeying the Ten Commandments. They also teach us that our New Covenant with God demands that we should keep our parish Church holy and our Divine worship vibrant by our active participation in the liturgy with hearts cleansed by repentance, and holy by allowing the Holy Spirit to control our hearts and lives. Here is what we can learn, if we apply ourselves to these Scripture Readings.
Our first reading teaches us that the Ten Commandments are the real basis of our religious and spiritual life. Instead of restricting our freedom, the Commandments really help us to love and respect our God and our neighbors. Our second reading teaches us… that we must appreciate the merit of the Divine sacrifice of the crucified Christ and obey His Commandment of Love as expression of our Divine worship. And then, our Gospel today, gives us the dramatic account of Jesus’ cleansing the Temple of its merchants and money-changers, followed by a prediction of his death and Resurrection.
The three Synoptic Gospels (Matthew, Mark and Luke) place the “Cleansing of the Temple” immediately after Jesus’ triumphant arrival in Jerusalem, riding on the back of a colt on Palm Sunday. However, John’s places it at the beginning of his Gospel. Jesus cleansed the Temple which King Herod began to renovate in 20 BC. The abuses which kindled the prophetic indignation of Jesus were the conversion of God’s Temple into a “noisy market place” by the animal merchants and into a “hideout of thieves” by the money-changers with their grossly unjust business practices – sacrilege in God’s Holy Place. Jesus’ reaction to this commercialized Faith was fierce. Using no club or weapon, Jesus constructs a whip of cords to drive out the merchants and money-changers from the Court of the Gentiles.
Here are some thoughts we can take away from our readings: first, let us establish a calculating mentality in Divine worship: Our relationship with God must be that of a child to his parent, one of mutual love, respect and a desire for the family’s good, with no thought of personal loss or gain. We are not supposed to think of God as a vending machine into which we put our sacrifices and good deeds to get back His blessings.
And second, let us be mindful that we are the temples of the Holy Spirit: St. Paul reminds us that we are God’s temples because the Spirit of God dwells in us. Hence, we have no right to desecrate God’s temple by any lustful impurity, injustice, pride, hatred or jealousy. Rather, let us become cleansed by asking for God’s forgiveness through the Sacrament of Reconciliation.
And third, let us truly love our parish Church and all its members. Let us commit to become involved and make use of it. Let us strive to make our Church a holier place…by adding our voices (no matter how good or mediocre they are) to the common prayers and the liturgical singing as we worship as One Body. And let us make a pro-active Lenten commitment to become active in this Holy Church of God . And let’s begin by selecting some ministries where our time and talent will be a welcome gift to both God and parish. We currently have 23 Ministries that are active and some 330 parishioners committed to them. And, now, with Haryasz Hall having been renovated, we have several more ministries ready to be activated in the Adult and Young Adult Learning, and Family focused categories.
While there is ample room in all of our ministries for additional membership, here is a list of some that could really use additional membership to restore their vitality and effectiveness: Eucharistic Adoration Guild, Welcoming, Respect Life, Extraordinary Ministers of the Eucharist, Bereavement, Altar Linen Care, Homebound Visitation, Church Housekeeping, Meal Prep at the Sulzbacher Center for the Homeless.
So, why not…during your quiet time of Lenten Spiritual Reflection…give serious thought to how you can improve on your response to the call of Christ, to us all…to be faithful and committed stewards. Let us look at how we can improve on our time and talent involvement with our Church. Working more closely to Him, in His precious Church, can greatly help us grow much closer to Him, and making His Will, our will. Remember, any ministry is in need and will welcome you.
Yours in Christ,