Father Steven Reilly, LC
to podcast version here.
John 2: 13-22
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.
Introductory Prayer: Lord, I believe that you
are here with me, and I hope in your
boundless mercy and love. Thank you for watching over me
and keeping me in your friendship. Thank you for
the precious gift of our Mother, the Church.
Lord, increase my zeal!
1. The Indestructible Temple: Today we
celebrate the dedication of St. John Lateran Basilica, known as
the “mother and head of all the churches.” Going
to Rome and visiting this wonderful church, now some
seventeen centuries old, one gets a sense of the durability
of Catholicism. The Catholic Church has been around for
a long time, and it will be around for
a lot longer — until judgment day, to be exact.
No matter how hard the world has tried, it
hasn’t been able to destroy the temple of the
Church. This should give us a deep confidence that the
Lord is with us as we journey through history.
Purification: Being indestructible doesn’t mean, however, that the Catholic
Church does not need constant purification. When our Lord
arrived to the temple in Jerusalem, he found many
things that marred the spirit of prayer and devotion that
was to characterize that sacred building. His vigorous reaction
serves to underline the high vocation of holiness that
God had given to the Chosen People. We Catholics have
inherited that call; yet all too often, the ways
of the world creep into our souls. Each one
of us needs to submit to the Lord’s purification. He
will challenge us in our conscience, and sometimes that
will sting like the whip of cords. But if
we are sincere in our desires, we accept this with
humility, aware that our souls must be living temples
of God’s presence.
3. Consuming Zeal: When the apostles contemplated
our Lord’s action in the temple, “zeal” was the word
that summed it all up. Jesus is zealous because
he doesn’t accept the status quo of entrenched mediocrity.
The day he arrives it is no longer business as
usual: His Father’s house WILL be respected. Too often
we let the barnacles of laziness and the accretions
of apathy weigh down and extinguish our zeal. Every
day we must pray that the Lord will once again
“enkindle in our hearts the fire of his love.”
Our zeal in living the faith is part of the
way God works to make this temple of his
Church indestructible. Don’t we want to cooperate with his
love, so that the “gates of hell will not prevail?”
Conversation with Christ: Lord, I love your Church.
I thank you for the priceless gift of my Catholic
faith. Protect the Church from all her enemies and
help me to be an effective apostle filled with
Resolution: I will offer myself to collaborate
in a parish ministry or other Catholic apostolate out
of love for the Church.